Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Way of Looking at Grades

Here's an article I wrote that ran in the Week In Review section of the NYTimes today.

I learned about this big shift in the way schools grade kids from some superintendents who are concerned about low performing boys. They are looking to see how much they grade for knowledge and how much they grade for compliance. They say it will help minority kids, English language learners and kids who are disengaged but smart.

What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article seemed quite one-sided, with much data and quotes from administrators, but just one each from an educator and parent. It is assumed that much time, effort, and research went into the drafting of this article, and so it was disappointing. There is so much more to this issue, and getting teachers' perspectives would have been important. To get the best data about what works, doesn't work, what is effective, and what will be detrimental to kids and classrooms, go to teachers, not administrators.

November 29, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the mother of a boy who doesn't fit into the neat behavioral box of school (that seems so geared towards girls), this article struck a cord with me. I would love to see my son's grades reflect his knowledge and have no problem with a separate "life skills" grade to other issues into account. Changing the way students are graded (i.e. eliminating folding in compliance with knowledge) could be a very practical and important step towards addressing the pervasive problem of male underachievement, since, as the article quite rightly points out, boys fall within the subgroup of students that may struggle with fitting into the ideal behavioral model where, in general, girl behavior is regarded as the gold standard.

December 16, 2010 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Franny said...

I would love to see my 6th grade son be graded on his knowledge of a subject rather than if he uses a red pencil vs. a gray pencil to do the work. Why is there such an emphasis on grades when we're told they don't matter at this level? Currently, if he doesn't show his work on his math assignment he gets an automatic zero. Doesn't matter if the answers are 100% correct. No acknowledgment whatsoever of knowing the material. Now I do understand why the teacher wants to see how he's getting the answers, but there's no inquiry on her part to find out why he's not showing his work -- just a big fat zero. And his answers are generally 100% correct. What is that teaching my son? Absolutely nothing about math. It is leaving him confused, frustrated and feeling terrible about himself. He's an extremely happy kid, but not when he's trying to fight his way through school. And math is typically easy for him.

March 4, 2011 at 2:55 AM  
Blogger Peg said...

Oy! Franny! I feel for you! I guess his teacher is trying to teach him to show his work...but zero? really?

March 22, 2011 at 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

Once again, where is the perspective of the teacher? It is her responsibility to not only teach the concepts of mathematics, but also to insist on the showing of work because that is what our NYS tests require. We parents need to support our teachers more, understand the complexity of their job, and stop taking the side of our kids (especially boys). It is not serving our children for their future. By the way, I am the mom of two young men, 15 and 19, who have had the same gripes. Why do I have to show my work? etc. And I respond, "Because it is what your teacher asked you to do, and it is your job to do it!" This is what our parent's generation would have done.

July 12, 2011 at 8:44 AM  

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