Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Grading Our Students

Grading - so it's all about grades and a teacher's ability to teach kids so they get good grades. Grades - important enough for a parent to carry a complaint all the way to the school board. A complaint about a grade given to a student found unacceptable to the student, the parent and 5 members of a 7 member school board.

Wrong. All wrong. And I'm not just talking about 5 of 7 board members ruling against the teacher. Way too much emphasis on assigning a letter, A+--F to school work assigned. A recent article says, "More Illinois students failing AP exams. About 67% of 2007 graduates who took the end-of-the-year AP exam posted a 3 or higher; the score needed to to earn a college credit on a scale of 1 to 5. Five years ago, 72% made the grade.

The results mirror what is happening across the country, where record numbers of students are sitting through AP classes, but a greater proportion are failing the exam.

Experts say the results suggest the explosion of AP courses has resulted in watered- down curriculum in some districts."

So at Richwoods, a veteran and respected teacher in an enriched class did not "water down" her students efforts but graded them on the way they will be graded in the college they wish to attend where admittance is often based mainly on grades. Then a "chatterer" writes to the JSEB that he too would have questioned what was wrong with her teaching skills because the majority of the class failed the assignment.

If a student wants to go to college and one of Ivy League caliber, they are going to need grades standards set by the college that others applying for entry have also achieved. Or they go to a "lesser" college. The teacher knows from experience that giving higher than earned grades to a student may get them in a more elite school.
These good teachers also know that many who received "compassionate" grades can't handle tough courses or compete with students from other schools with better teachers who do not grade students just to get them in the college they believe they are entitled to attend.

In past, and maybe better generations, kids often disliked tough teachers when they were in school. Seldom did the parent or school board try to interfere. As adults, those most successful realized what an asset these teachers were to them. I believe Mrs. Moe is one of them and I regret these attacks on her. In the many classrooms I have visited, I have seen so many teachers trying to be "friends or buddies" to their kids. Therin lies the failure of so many of today's adults.

Without the teacher gaining respect from her students, there is a sub-par learning atmosphere. It is not necessary to like someone you respect. If a student both respects and "likes" a teacher the learning atmosphere is perhaps better but not necessarily so as most will learn when they enter the job market.

As an employer for at least 33 years of my life my criteria in hiring and retaining was as follows: Skills necessary for the position offered-Conduct during the hiring process and conduct after hiring-Attitude-Work or education levels attained-Ability to express themselves-Common sense-Responsibility-Integrity-Dependablity and willingness to learn. At no time did I ever ask to see their report card.

Those hired who had the most success were those who were the ones most rounded in the art of living and working together and respecting themselves and others around them.

I do not down play the importance of learning while in school but to judge students by the grades they receive on their report cards while they are in grade and high school is just plain wrong.

1 comment:

AdamB said...

I definitely agree with that.