Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How to ration high grades

...and make sure not too many go to the math buffs and other analytical children that traditional teachers considered "smart."

1. Don't collect homework; leave it up to kids to hand things in. Many smart but disorganized children will lose points to this.

2. Grade via inflexible rubrics that contain at least one "visual" dimension (color, creativity, neatness) that disfavors the artistically impaired. That way, no matter how well a smart, non-artistic kid does on the more academic components, he'll still fall short of a top grade. All the better if you design the entire assignment to strike both smart kids and their parents as inane. That way many of these parents won't bother to make sure their unmotivated children fulfill all the requirements.

3. Don't hand things back until the end of the marking period. This keeps parents from knowing that their kids are losing points for trivial reasons--e.g., for not showing multiple solutions or explaining their answers or using enough colors--and intervening accordingly.

4. Assure kids--and their parents--that the second tier grade that most of them are getting (a.k.a., "B", "3", or "proficient") is a very good grade.

5. Keep the math problems easy and define "exceeding the standard" to include explaining your answers as verbosely as possible, drawing neat, colorful visual representations, and providing multiple "creative" strategies by solving simple problems over and over again. The easier the student finds the math, the less motivated s/he will be to comply, and the more points s/he will lose.

6. Do the same with science, language arts, and foreign language: water down the academic, analytical components, and up the "creative," showy visual requirements.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My goodness, you've explained my children's school's grading system.

My children's school has the 1-5 grading standards thing going. You can't get higher than a 3 in October, you can't get higher than a 4 in March, and the school won't say what it takes to get a 5.