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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 6:11 pm
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let me begin this post by saying that it is not meant to offend but rather to throw a really important topic out there, something that each of us needs to be thinking about. i know a lot of people don't speak up in class, so i'm still wondering if it could be possible that i am the sole student, in a classroom of some 20 of 30 future teachers that believes a grading system is necessary. that's amazing to me, and i have not been able to get this thought out of my mind since we left class yesterday. are each of you not planning on using a grading system? i realize that it has its problems, and there is a plethera of other problems with our educational system as well. but no grading system? i'm not talking about those other problems--not race, gender, sexual preference, tracking, white priveledge, the hidden curriculum, none of those. are your youngsters, for the elementary teachers, are your youngsters going to do their assignments and be eager to learn about all of the topics that are mandatory to teach, just for the sheer thrill of those subjects? what sort of motivation are you going to use to get them to do their assignments and learn the required curriculum? if students are not given goals (in this case, grades) to reach, do you really believe they'll do the work? i know i would not have. i didnt enjoy school until i actually got into studying subjects that interested me, in other words, late high school and college. there is no way you could have convinced me to do homework assignments in subjects that i could have cared less about, without knowing i was going to get graded on the assignments. it's too bad our society has to be based on success, on competition, but it is. i'm just wondering what strategies everyone plans on using in their classroom--to maintain control, to motivate, to progress from one level to the next--if not implementing some sort of grading system. again, my intent is not to attack or offend. i think some issues are difficult to debate face to face because we all may have such differing opinions on them and so do not speak in an effort to maintain the calm, agreeable staus quo, but i'd like to learn something from each of you, and hopefully you from me.

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Molly Flynn Peterson


Wed Apr 16, 2003 1:25 pm
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Assessments-yes, grades-not necessarily important. I don't think they are always that motivational, some students do not care. For some, they are detrimental. I worked with a fifth grader that had a severe learning disability, and struggled with reading, but was amazing at math. He often got bad grades though because he could not read the directions or story problems. How about art? How can you really put a grade on art? I have not spent a lot of time considering this topic, but my intuition tells me that they are not always a good thing or necessary, and I know that there are other methods out there. There are a few colleges out there that do not grade, and even kid's schools. It can be done. I'd like to learn about how they do it. It is hard to imagine only because we are so used to tradition.


Sun Apr 27, 2003 10:08 pm
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lauren, yes, it seems a bit ridiculous to grade students on art. not so very fair at all to put a label of achievment on someone's self expression. but in my experience thus far, the purpose of grades in an art program is to assess if the student understands a technique or a concept, also if one can develop an idea, if (at the highest level) one is able to create a conceptual piece and have it work for the viewer. most of the grade is based on the level of effort--the best art professors i have had here at ASU have graded me on my progression throughout the semester--it does not matter that some students in the class may be more talented in the area than i am, i am not graded against my classmates but rather on how i progress throughout the semester. my work must show improvement from the first pieces of the semester to the final pieces. this is how i plan on grading in my own classroom--not one student against the next, but rather each against himself and his efforts to improve his technique, concept development, and understanding of the process. marie may be a stronger metalsmith than i am, but we both have a chance at getting a B in the class if we both show improvement in technique throughout the semester.

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Molly Flynn Peterson


Mon Apr 28, 2003 9:49 am
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I tend to think that grades are entirely overrated in our school system. However, I think some grades are necessary. I think that most parents need to see some grades to keep informed about their child's performance. Also, I think that kids need some kind of indicator of how well they are doing in different areas. Molly, I agree that grades should be based primarily on effort. I think as long as the teacher is looking at the how hard a child is trying, then grades would be pretty fair. I'm not saying that we need grades for all tasks. I don't mean that all. Maybe just a big grade at the end of a set period of time (depending on age group) to show the overall effort and success of the student. That way, they would have something to go on but would not be worried over every little assignment.


Wed Apr 30, 2003 6:01 pm
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