Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Favorite Comments of '14, cont: Auntie Ann, momof4, Anonymous and FedUpMom

On Should should top grades reflect teachers' perceptions of "habits of mind"?

Auntie Ann said...
So a kid who isn't the brightest, but works his pitooty off, figures everything out, does all the work, does it well, and really learns what he should learn, must--must--receive a lower grade than someone for whom it all comes naturally?
lgm said...
If grades are for ranking, yes the talented person should rank higher than the hard worker. There will come a point that the hard worker isn't going to advance. For many, that is Geometry. Why put them in the honors Algebra seat if it is going to take the support of parent and tutor, when you have a talented child who doesn't have teacher pleasing behaviors who could intellectually handle the class with ease (and probably drive the teacher nuts with his/her 'more please' comments)? Better yet, open a few more sections so all qualified can have a seat.
momof4 said...
AND, the talented need to be offered more, deeper material and a faster pace and their grades should reflect this. Of course, lots of teachers - especially ES- in my experience, really don't like the very bright, intellectually curious kids with lots of content knowledge. They too often ask too-challenging questions which make many teachers uncomfortable. They like the artsy-crafty, touchy-feely teacher-pleasers. The former are likely to be boys, who are not interested in making their papers look pretty and the latter are likely to be girls and grades are likely to reflect teacher preferences.

In response to the last sentence, the MoCO admins have no interest in any viewpoint except their own, in my experience as a parent whose kids went through that system. Their creativity and flexibility wouldn't stretch to allow my incoming all-honors freshman to take keyboarding in summer school (as opposed to September, for which class he was already registered) because "he wasn't a HS student" but, since he had taken honors algebra I in 8th, he could take SS non-honors geometry with kids who had already failed it. I was assured that this was a pedagogically sound option for a very mathy kid, at a school with one of the top math/sci tracks in the county, planning a STEM major!! I admit it; I lost patience and told the idiot what I thought about his "pedagically-appropriate" ideas.
Anonymous said...
Oh right. I very much doubt that any of my ES or MS teachers had any idea at all of what their students' "habits of mind" were. A couple of the very insightful HS teachers probably did, but they graded us on results, not on habits of mind.
FedUpMom said...
Katharine asks:

What's wrong with simply basing grades on students' levels of mastery of what's actually being taught?

In order to do that, you'd have to actually teach content and understand what mastery is. That's not happening.

If you start with a squishy, gobbledegook curriculum, or squishy, gobbledegook goals (hello, Common Core!) a squishy, gobbledegook rubric for evaluation is the natural next step. 
Auntie Ann said...
Our school had a demonstration of what happens when things are too squishy for too long--and it comes down to the fact that, while standardized tests may not be perfect, at least they can't be fudged (except in Atlanta--google the cheating scandal there.)

Standardized test were given at our school (a private one) in October, but the school didn't hand out the results for months. When they did finally hand them out near the end of February, more than one family were so shocked by how their kids did, that they left the school.

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