Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

Different ways of Grading
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Author:  Ryan Earnhardt [ Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Different ways of Grading

I remember from a few class periods back Dr. Turner stating her dislike for testing in a class such as ours. I tend to agree with her that it is difficult to test students in a class such as ours since it is so deeply rooted in discussion. While thinking about this, I began to think of a different issue I had heard about recently.

Recently, Stanford University's Law school has adopted a system of grading that has been used at other big name schools such as Yale and Harvard. They have decided to drop letter grades and instead give students one of three classifications; Honors Pass, Pass Low, or Fail. ( Reading about this made me think about whether a grading system like this could at all work for K-12 schools, both public and private.

My question is, do you think it would ever be feasible for K-12 schools to adopt a grading system for its students such as the one adopted by these great schools? Why do you think that they are switching to this easier form of assessment?

I personally believe that it could possibly work. In today's educational world, I believe too much emphasis is placed on grading and testing. I believe students are too often being asked to answer too many multiple choice questions and not enough critical thinking questions; questions that can turn out to be more applicable in the student's life. Also, when they are asked to think critically, their answers are often graded based on the teachers bias. I believe that a system which allowed teachers to grade students on effort, research, and statement of beliefs and understanding could work better. Additionally, I believe that students and colleges alike are too worried about whether someone has an outstanding GPA or outstanding SAT scores and less worried about the students actual involvement in the learning process and classroom/school.

I believe that an average of the students achievement levels could be used to form a different type of standard to be looked at by higher educational institutions which took more into account students involvement in and outside the classroom.

There are certainly a lot of cons to a system like this, and it may not work at all, but I tend to believe the basic ideals of this kind of grading could be implimented.

What do you think?

Author:  Justin Mccrary [ Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:14 am ]
Post subject: 

I think that this system has the ability to work well. I feel that right now in this day and time, students are too focused on trying to get a certain number grade in a class. Instead, they should be focusing on learning the material presented in the class and passing.

Being a future band director, I am partial to the points system. This system assigns a certain number of points per rehearsal, concert, and any other event or assignment the student is required to attend/complete. If the student attends all the events, they will receive all the points for those events. If they miss a function, those points are deducted from the total possible. If they complete all other class requirements, they will receive all of those points. Assignments will be graded, and those grades will be part of the total points possible. Then, at the end of the semester, you add up the students points, and divide that by the total possible. That total is the students grade. This system is proven to work.

Author:  Katie Tyndall [ Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:04 am ]
Post subject: 

I'm not sure that this exact assessment system would function at full potential in a K-6 environment. I do believe that our current system could use to go to a more general assessment rather than the letter grades but I think at least in K-6 there would have to be more than just three classifications. There would have to be something to indicate on level, above level, or below level along with whether or not students have mastered content and skills. I think our students are far too focused on grades and hope to help my students see the benefits of what they are learning aside from a high test score. I think that for a system like this to work, society would have to not place such a high focus on being perfect and beating everyone around you at what you do. A system like this doesn't allow for one student to be "the smartest" on paper and there would be many who wouldn't approve of this change at all. I hope to implement something like this, or the point system in my classroom and try and stay away from the 0-100 number scale. It is an interesting thought though about whether or not this could actually work in all schools. Maybe it will be tried one day.

Author:  Kollin Kalk [ Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

This is a very interesting question. I too hope for a method of assessment that does not rely upon letter grades and the testing that we have today. The thing is though that I know of the principles I want to grade by, such as critical thinking and other higher order thinking skills, but I am not sure how to concretely implement this into my high school history class. How can I do this in relation to want colleges want?

This is a big question for me and very important to my future teaching. Does anyone have any ideas or examples of a different method of grading that has proven to work at the high school level?

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