Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A discussion about Grades vs. "The Discussion Letter" (narratives)

A discussion about grades comes from pages 154-161 in The Big Picture.  Here's the essence:

At The Met, we use narratives not to rank students or compare them to each other, but to help each student understand what he or she must do to meet his or her own learning goals and needs. In other words, when a teacher reads a student’s paper, she is not reading it to mark the stu- dent’s progress in relation to a predetermined set of activities and goals, but to actually figure out what those activities and goals should be for that student. When you say you want to get rid of grades, some people think you want to get rid of standards altogether. It’s the exact opposite. Using narratives really forces schools to look more closely at each stu- dent’s accomplishments and gaps. The standards are determined in a really personalized way by developing an individualized learning plan, with goals and indicators of achievement for each student. Then it’s a matter of evaluating that student in a real-world way: assessing the student’s progress as it compares to what he or she will need in order to succeed in college and in life. When you think about it, you can’t hold students to any standard higher than that. 

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 I want to wokr in a high school where these ideas are discussed.

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