Wednesday, March 2, 2011

C4T #2 Summary

a boy holding a bad report card

In Comments4Teachers #2 I was assigned to Beth Still's blog. The first blog post that I commented on was a blog post called, Educon 2.3 Part 1. This blog post was simply the reflection of her experiences at Educon. Also she specifically mentioned some of the interesting people that she meet and she put up links to those people’s Twitter page. I simply commented that I did not know much about Educon but she made it sound interesting so I would look into it. So, I did look into it and I found out according to ,“EduCon is both a conversation and a conference. And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.” The second blog post was titled Controversy Over Grades. This blog post was about the latest trend on Twitter “Let’s Abolish Grades!” and her opinion on the matter. She made some very good points that I felt that you should read them for yourself, “ Controversy Over Grades- Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Beth Still on 02-03-2011 After being on Twitter for nearly 3 years I have learned to spot a bandwagon from a mile away. The latest bandwagon to come along has the words, “Let’s Abolish Grades!” written on the side of it. Maybe I am not as forward thinking or as innovative as I thought I was, but I don’t get this movement. Grades, whether they are letter grades, percentages, scales, or something else help students, parents, and teachers measure growth and progress and also indicate the level at which a student is performing (average, below average, above average). Students are admitted or denied access to certain programs, classes, and other things based on grades. Many times grades dictate scholarships and scholarships dictate where a student will attend college. This decision will have a lifelong impact on a person. In a perfect world grades would reflect mastery of a subject, not necessarily growth. For example, I might have a student take a US Civil War course with me and already know most of the content of the course. I strongly believe grades should not reflect behavior, but there is not much of a way around this. I have a few students who flat out refuse to complete their assignments. I have no choice but to put zeros in the gradebook, but I know the F they receive does not represent what they are capable of doing. The F doesn’t reflect their ability, but rather their lack of action. Do any of you who buy into this idea think it is a realistic option? I’ve been watching for the last few years as we have tried to convince naysayers that technology is a good thing and that its use should be adopted across the board. I have not witnessed much change where I live. I cannot even begin to imagine what my administrators and school board would say if I proposed we abolish grades. Are there really enough people in favor of abolishing grades that make this topic worth of discussion?
I really hope someone will reply who can shed some light on what is wrong with grades. I’m feeling a little left out since I have not jumped on this bandwagon, but that is OK. Recently, I was reminded that it is perfectly acceptable for me to make up my own mind without being pressured by my PLN. Too many people have gotten caught up in the need to fit in and comply with the will of the majority. I got caught up in that trap for the longest time. But that is a topic for a different post.” As you can see, Beth Still is against his trend where as I am not which I reflected in my comment. I am very passionate about this subject I firmly believe that we should abolish grades. Grades put too much pressure on students to do well rather than putting emphasis on actual learning. I learned a lot while I was assigned to Beth Still's blog so I do plan to comtinue to follow her blog and following her on Twitter.

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