Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Favorite Comments of '12: AmyP and Anonymous

On More Tough memes: grading students for “character”

AmyP said...

It's established practice to give quite a number of deportment grades for things like respect for adults, respect for fellow students, organization, neatness, etc.

I don't see why you'd need a separate grade for "grit," self-control, and motivation, as those are the characteristic that are already on view when a child shows up at school with their homework done and ready to work all day. Of course, it's hard to draw the line between where the kid's grit ends and mom and dad's grit begins.

Basically, these new insights about "grit" just mean giving the same kids two sets of bad grades for the same problems. For good or ill, it is certainly not the case that current academic grading is just evaluating raw intelligence--it's much more evaluating compliance, diligence and the ability to deal with frustration and boredom.

Actually, now that I think of it, Brooks has it backwards. Maybe we need to introduce some grades just for raw intelligence.    
Anonymous said...
You've made a good distinction. Grading on character should be for behaviors that are within the child's control, at least in principle: respect, cooperation, at least an acceptable level of perseverance, etc. Motivation is to some extent inborn, and to some extent home-generated. Let's leave that one out. Flexibility, the same. While it's true that the characterristics we grade children on in the "deportment" category, which has been with us forever, are somewhaet compliance-oriented, that's not a reason to reject the idea. Compliance IS important in a group setting, and being able to comply (whether one chooses to comply or not, in later life) is important to school success. "Grit" is just another word for persistence; it can be modeled, it can be rewarded, and it can be encouraged, but I see no reason to award a grade for "grit."

1 comment:

EricMR said...

Compliance can be _very_ important for a child's safety, it's not teachers just wanting to be domineering. If the child cannot learn the boundaries between a little all-in-fun mischief and when an adult is serious and must be obeyed, the child is in danger. The child needs to respond to "get out of the street, now!" by getting out of the street, not thinking, "oh, wow, teacher's face looks funny all contorted like that. What will he do if I run even further into the traffic?" (not that the thoughts will be so verbal).

This doesn't even count all the times noncompliance is a time-wasting nuisance, not only to the adults but to other students