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Saturday, February 12, 2011

EDM613 MAC - Week 2: BLOG Comment #2

@Tim

To be honest I was really being bored to tears with this weeks reading, Art of Possibility, until! I came to a paragraph the just rang out to me. In this paragraph the topic of grades is discussed. I always had a problem with grades as a way of measuring mastery of skills, I just didn’t know why. Well the authors of this book gave me the answer I was looking for, letter grades just compare student against student, and say very little about the actual work completed by the student.

Every student is different and learns at a different rate and in different ways. Taking into account these differences, why should they all be measured on the same scale. How do we resolve this situation? I really don’t know, but it is definitely something that should be studied.

Reading the paragraphs in this book relating to grades had really opened my eyes to something that has been bothering me for a long time. Wouldn’t it be great to get a giant gathering of educators together and have a massive brain storming session and see what we could come up with? Makes me really wonder about the possibilities……

Response:
Tim, I'm glad you were able to keep reading until you found the paragraph about grades that brought meaning from the reading to you. Grades are such an impossible thing! They force us to compare student to student, even when a rubric is used, because of how difficult it is to be completely objective when reviewing a student's work. It's difficult to explain here, in the shorter space of a blog, but I know that when a teacher has arrived at a score using a rubric, other pieces may be held up to one in particular to see if the same degree of achievement was met. It is not intentional, but illustrates the difficulty of maintaining objectivity. I also wonder at the possibilities. If grades are removed and students encouraged to stretch their wings to their fullest potential, can teachers be ok with the fact that some will still choose not to strive to see what is possibly, but will be content with staying close to home. We have to be ready to let such situations occur. We can present opportunities and do OUR best to prepare them, removing judgment of what they may choose, but just as with our children ... they have to reach out their wings to catch the wind.

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