Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Continue the Conversation (with no grades in sight)

For all you 5th perioders, here is a place to continue the conversation on grades in school and how they affect both teachers and students. I would love to hear feedback from educators as well!

14 comments:

Laurenc said...

I wanted to say on the whole subject about grading ourselves that I doubt it would ever work. I do however believe it would be good to conference with teachers so they can have our important and listen to what we think we deserve. Now the reason why I don't think that grading ourselves would work is because many kids would take this opportunity for granted. Maybe it's fair to say that kids in honors courses are more responsible which is what I personally believe but I know many teens who would completely take advantage of this system to give themselves automatic A's.

I also have to disagree with Ms. Smith about getting rid of grades being okay. I personally know that grades keep many students focused and on track. Getting rid of them would be bologna especially with colleges focusing on them so much. Those of us who will depend on a scholarship to even have a chance of getting in to a college MUST have a focus on our grades.

nicolek said...

I really don't know how I feel about grades at this point. Up to this year I have just gone to school because I had to but now I'm starting to realize that as stressful and annoying as school can be I don't go just because I have to anymore, I go because I know that there is so much for me to learn. I love when summer comes, but usually by the end of it I feel so useless and I want to go back to school so that I can learn new things and grow as a person. I just don't know if learning can be measured in any way besides grades.

melissaz said...

I love the idea of going through our paper with Ms. Smith. Then, each step of the way Ms. Smith can state her case and in both ways we can grow. She might learn a thing or 2 from listening to our comments as well as we learn how to create an even stronger persuasive essay. But, I would want to hear what Ms. Smith would truly give me. Maybe after the meeting, we would personally give ourselves a grade and Ms. Smith would as well and then Ms. Smith would have the final say after that. She may have a better idea of grading if we can actually discuss our own learning process along the way.

I see Lauren's point on how it would be very hard to incorperate this new idea into the whole school, because many students could take advantage of this opportunity. But, I do think that it could be a great change. If that could happen, I think over time students would start to find more meaning in their grades and in school in general. Plus, I think that if we kept the teacher as the head grade giver, it should work out fine. If the student has a large say in their grade, they will put in more effort. But the teacher, through conferances and getting to know the student, would take the students idea into consideration for the total grade.

But I feel there definitaly needs to be some sort of grading system. When I was researching some things for Mr. Fisch's blog post, I found a statistic done at a college that said that 76% of students motivation was to get good grades, not learning. And I find that actually pretty sad. But this seems to prove that grades are some-what important.

Here is the web-page: http://www.nd.edu/~frswrite/issues/1998-1999/sp99/Dotson.shtml

katyj said...

hannahl-- thanks for making this post. First of all i agree with laurenc that some people would completely take advantage of the situation, maybe even me, as shameful as that is. Second of all, as amazing as gettign rid of grades sounds, I know that many kids would just stop coming to school. And thirdly, i stand by what I said in class, that grades are more for that parents then they are for the kids. I also agree that they are not an accurate representation of our learning. We need to amend the grading system so that it reflects a students learning, not whether or not they turn things in. And it is great to say that, but we should actually do something about. it though?

ZachH said...

I also kind of like the idea of grading ourselves with Ms. Smith. I think it would be good to go through our paper with her and also to get a chance to tell her how we think we did. In the end though I am more intrested in how she thinks I did versus how I think I did.

I agree with Ms. Smith that the grading system should change in order to better reflect what/ how we are learning. Right now it seems to reflect how well you test. However, as Sir Ken Robinson said "the entire education system is based on Universities" (those aren't his exact words, but it is the jist of it. I think this is true since colleges look at your grades (among many other things) to see how "smart" you are. However, under the modern grading system, grades don't reflect how smart you are, they just show how well you test.

It is a tough situation, but I really enjoyed the conversation today in class.

morgant said...

Here's the thing. I am very weird about grades. I almost have to have grades. that is just who I am. I want those A's so I work hard. I want to see straight A's when I get my report card. That is my motivation. I still learn the information, but I need those grades. As for work, I do my best on my work, then I like the teacher to grade it and see what he/she thought of the assignment. If I don't agree with the grade, I will go in and talk to him/her, but I want to see what they thought of it. I did my best on it.

I wanted to say that during class today, but never got the chance, so there it is! =D

morganw said...

Grades have become such a societal norm that people generally do not think about school or learning in any other way. Grades may be good or bad, but we, as a society, refuse to think them outside of the traditional grade stereotype. When applied properly, grades can be great things. They can be used to display what a student needs to work on in order to improve. However, they can also have negative influences. Grades themselves are just a percentage or a number or a letter. Nothing else. And these are just symbols, stand-ins, for other things. Letters help to form words which give us the broader concept of speech. We do write, but oral language is primarily what we do. Same goes for percentages. They are also just stand-ins for the broader concept of parts of a whole. So think about it. Grades, like letters, numbers, and percentages, can be really good things. But we can't just stop at that. We need to build off of grades into improvement where we discuss our classes and learning with teachers and friends. That way, we can truly evaluate our learning.

morganw said...

I also agree with what people have been saying. Going through our papers with Ms. Smith would be great and I really would like the opportunity to do that, but I have to think of Ms. Smith. It takes long enough to grade a paper, especially upwards of 60 of them - think of how long it would take and how exhausting it would be for Ms. Smith to do through every single paper with every single kid and have a good, in depth discussion with each. I want to be able to conference one-on-one with my teacher as much as the next kid, but think of how tiring that would be on our poor teacher.

Just thought I'd bring that up. Not that I'm saying we shouldn't do it, I really think we should, I just wanted to point out a couple of problems we might encounter.

ParkerH said...

I like what we have said, but for now, it would be really hard to do this. I mean, like I said in class, how do you do this thing with 200 students, or 500, or for that matter, even 120? It really isn't that feasible. It would take reworking of college and even to some extent, high school. If we could have a say in our grade, then that would be good. There is also the problem of cheaters. Some kids, I know, would just say, "I worked hard so I get a 100% and you can't change my mind." It's sad, but I think it's true. Disagree with me if you want, I don't mind. If we got past these problems, than this would make more sense. For now, it really doesn't.

mattw said...

Like just about everyone else, I agree with lauren in that kids would DEFINITELY take advantage of grading themselves.

When we had the short little conversation about learning reflections, I wanted to say that I think they're are pointless.
On mine, I just right what I KNOW the teacher wants to hear. "OH, I feel bad for not turning that in, and I'm going to start using my planner more..."

ANd what stephen said in the last 30 seconds of class; something about letting students choose their learning. there are DEFINITELY some kids that would the bare minimum work. Not everyone has a deep passion for learning. If learning were based solely or just mainly on motivation, some people would never improve.

And to defend myself against Ms. Smith; Maybe grades aren't essential to succeed financially in life, but my parents don't care. If I don't have A's and B's, I don't get my driving permit. I'm a half year overdue. x_x

mattw said...

I also wanted to say that more than half my classes the grades are based ONLY on responsibility. Some kids have trouble with that more than others, especially when it comes to remembering things. Like ADD or ADHD for example; there are a few different kinds, like inattentive behavior, and short energy bursts. I don't want to make it sound like an excuse, but it can have a bigger impact than some people think.

You forget things that people told you to your face, and get yelled at for it later. IF you take medicine for it, you can lose your appetite, and not be remotely hungry for literally DAYS. You can get absolutely FURIOUS with yourself not doing something, and even then you don't bother doing it because it's "boring".

Once again, I don't want this to sound like an excuse for laziness or bad grades, just saying not everyone has a "Let's go LEARN!!!!" attitude....

Selenam said...

With the whole idea of having the student grade themselves, but the teachers have the final say, we do that in History. Granted, it's not for the whole class, just the participation part, but I think it works well. We write what we think our participation grade should be, along with reasons why we gave ourself that grade, but the teacher has the final say. I think this method has more impact on students, because the students are saying to themselves, oh, I need to improve in this area, which has more of an impact then going online and having the grade say, you need to improve on this.

catem said...

I think that grades are not necessary, all that needs to be there is a goal for each student. Maybe that is where we are hitting a problem with grades. Grades are a generalized and stereotyped goal for everyone, when we each have different personal goals. Similar to what many others have already suggested, I think that a system where we were to sit down every six weeks or so with our teacher and decide what things you want to accomplish that six weeks would work quite well. Then after the six weeks the teachers could look at the each student's growth and evalute how they were doing in the class. The only thing would be that we would probably have to make the class sizes a little smaller.

kristinah said...

For me, grades are sometimes the physical, visual part of the grades that you can look at and see that you did well. Often times, I think that the grades are the things that I am working towards because often times it has been the only thing that people have told me to achieve. Parents do not ask you how much/ how well you are learning in school as much as they ask us how are your grades. I would really like to do the conferance with Smith because then we can actually, individually learn what we did wrong and fix it next time. The only way to get better, is to make mistakes, know what they are and corrects them. It is not necessary for us to grade ourselves, by ourselves. Mrs. Smith will be right beside us helping us to make the decision. It is something of maturity and something of the real world to evaluate ourselves. In a job, a boss is not going to tell us that we did C grade work here, it is more likely that they will ask us how we think we did and how we can improve, and then they will add to that. I think it would be a great experience and if you do not like it then let her know, and I am sure that Smith would be willing to decide WITH some people on their grades in a conferance and for others just give them a grade.