Monday, September 17, 2012

"That student deserves an F because..."

The first set of progress grades were due last week at WMS.  This brings up an interesting topic: grades!  There are as many interpretations of what grades actually represent as their are teachers.  An A in one class may mean something different than in another class.  Similarly, failing marks in one class may mean something diferent than another. 

Is a student to be graded on how much work he does, what he understands, what he demonstrates, or even how hard he works?

Here ,we are looking at what famous ski area? Connection below!
Answer to a prior trivia question: New York University hosts the Picasso rendering in concrete, zip code 10012.
(Great job on the identification DM!)

How do we determine if student compliance but mistake it for student engagement?  What are the similarities and differences between the two? Can they co-exist?  Are they mutually exclusive?  Does the presence of one prevent the occurrence of the other???

What do grades really mean?

What do grades, assessments, scores, and student marks really mean?  Does a student that works hard to earn a 57% deserve the same score as a student that does nothing and also earns an F grade?  Is there a way to reconcile this difference?

Is an A, always an A, regardless of any other circumstances?  Does the student that comes with prior knowledge and "Aces the test" really deserve the same grade as someone who works hard to earn an A?

What about an F?  Does that mean somebody that tried but missed by earning a 55% deserves the same thing as someone who did not try at all?    What if after the first lesson, a student does not master the concept, but after the reteaching, the student understands?  Is the value of a lesson learned in class by a teacher reteaching worth more, or less than a lesson the student already knew when he came into class? has a great articulation of the grade dilemma and how students may perceive the grade.

At Winfield Middle School...

We strive to see the value of a pre-test, examining what a student already brings to the table, what he understands and where he still struggles.  This pre-test identifies the concepts and ideas that form the curriculum and looks for prior knowledge.  (Also part of the first corollary #atplc question:  What do we want students to know?)

Our instruction can then be tailored to meet the needs of a greater number of students.  Lessons that offer no challenge are reduced and challenges become appropriate to students abilities.  Student's success becomes more authentic and owned by the participant.

Then our published grades align with a set of published standards that each child has mastered or is progressing towards mastery.  Right?


This ski area has is set in a high rocky mountain pass.  The highway visible in the backdrop is Colorado State Highway 6.  (That clue should suffice for identification)  But this pass is an alternative to the famous Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 that most skiers pass through to and from their ski areas.  The pass is maintained year-round and is the path of many.  This alternative demonstrates an alternative necessary for many of our students as well. The regular things don't work as well.  They are not allowed or even dangerous.  Most folks travel this road due to hazardous material.  Most folks travel this road because they have no other choice.

What alternate routes do we have established ahead of time for students that don't travel the common path?  What methods of assessment do we apply to record and publish their measure of success?  Do we require them to travel just like everybody else?  Do we look for alternatives?  How hard do we work for them to find their own success?

What if their intelligence is not measured by our tool?  What if this is their intelligence?

  • 1.1 Logical-mathematical
  • 1.2 Spatial
  • 1.3 Linguistic
  • 1.4 Bodily-kinesthetic
  • 1.5 Musical
  • 1.6 Interpersonal
  • 1.7 Intrapersonal
  • 1.8 Naturalistic
  • 1.9 Existential

  • ps:  Our grades look great!  Thanks guys.

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