Monday, December 22, 2008

Grades

My niece and I were discussing the necessity for grades last night (along with the incentive they provide for cheating); at the time, I conceded that some kind of generally-accepted evaluation system was needed, and grades were one way to do it. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I really don't believe in grades. Grades are more about competition than education. Grades assume that everyone has to be pushed through material at the same rate and then rewarded or penalized depending on how quickly they were able to absorb it; the race (and the A) goes to the swift.

But that's not how education should work. An alternative is teaching to mastery, where students are given the time they need to master the material and not allowed to move on until they have. Grades aren't needed to rank students, because they don't move up to the next level until they have all the material mastered; they can't flunk as long as they show up and try to learn (although they might stay in one stage a long time). Bright students who would do well under grading can move ahead quickly, covering more material in a given time; slower thinkers (who may be equally intelligent) can master the material at their own pace.

This is how young children learn, moving on to a new task when a prior one is mastered. In school settings where the technique has been tried, it has been so successful that it tends to anger the school organization (especially when the "dumb kids" are getting As in a class). If the goal is to get kids to learn the material, grading is a failure; it is only successful as a way of ranking kids based on how fast they learn, not how well.

3 comments:

oakleyses said...

christian louboutin outlet, tory burch outlet, nike outlet, uggs on sale, louboutin pas cher, jordan shoes, christian louboutin, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, jordan pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, nike free, christian louboutin shoes, tiffany jewelry, air max, louis vuitton outlet, polo outlet, christian louboutin uk, longchamp outlet, michael kors pas cher, kate spade outlet, chanel handbags, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike roshe, oakley sunglasses, burberry pas cher, ugg boots, nike free run, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses wholesale, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, polo ralph lauren, replica watches, sac longchamp pas cher, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, replica watches, ugg boots, gucci handbags, prada outlet, longchamp pas cher, oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, nike air max

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, hollister uk, ralph lauren uk, coach outlet, true religion jeans, north face uk, ray ban uk, burberry handbags, uggs outlet, timberland pas cher, nike roshe run uk, nike free uk, polo lacoste, new balance, hollister pas cher, hogan outlet, converse pas cher, michael kors, sac hermes, michael kors outlet online, nike air max uk, nike air max, nike air force, michael kors outlet, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, michael kors, nike air max uk, vans pas cher, north face, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban pas cher, michael kors outlet, true religion outlet, coach purses, replica handbags, lululemon canada, burberry outlet, nike blazer pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet store online, mulberry uk, guess pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, kate spade, nike tn

oakleyses said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.