Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How to ration high grades, part II

Events in my son's school life since yesterday inspire three additions:

1. Keep all written homework directions sketchy enough that bored kids who don't pay attention won't remember the key details you only give orally.

2. Base tests not on textbooks or other written resources, but only on the notes that students take in class--another way to disfavor bored/distracted kids, who tend not to take notes, as well as disorganized kids, who lose track of their notes, along with the penmanship impaired, whose notes are often minimal and/or impossible even for him/her to decipher.

3. Never, never teach penmanship! That way only certain students (the penmanship "naturals") will end up writing fluently and clearly enough to take good notes and meet today's high standards for neatness.

3 comments:

lgm said...

LOL sounds familiar. We also have the daily behavior grade that is worth 1/3 of the quarter grade...but you don't find out that part until your kid asks why, with a 100 test/quiz average and perfect homework, his grade is below a 90. The beh. grade is lowered if the kid is late (not surprising in a school with no bell system or working clocks) or if the kid doesn't raise his hand each and every time he has the opportunity.

>>3. Never, never teach penmanship! That way only certain students (the penmanship "naturals") will end up writing fluently and clearly enough to take good notes and meet today's high standards for neatness.

My funny story with this is that I was shown a sample of what my kid should aspire too, way back in elementary. It was apples to bananas as the perfect child was not using the school taught manuscript...my kid's grade suddenly became passing.

Turned out Mr. Perfect was pre-tutored at home so he would look like a star at school. Roughly 5% of students here are tutored at home..it is no coincidence that the majority of honors studetns are children of teachers....they have the resource materials for free to remediate for the poor teaching at school - professional courtesy ya know.

Laura said...

The "funny" thing is that they are using grades as an absurdly crude form of behaviorism--we want you to have neat handwriting and participate in class, so we will penalize you if you don't do these things.

Meanwhile, they turn their nose up at more nuanced and effective behaviorist methods, because those go against progressive ideals.

Cranberry said...

We've just realized that we'll have to afterschool our youngest boy, to improve his penmanship. It is atrocious, and there's an ominous silence from the teacher to my question about whether they would teach it. Keyboarding is very "in" at our school, although most assignments are handwritten. Go figure.