Another fun filled week of Parent - Teacher conferences. When did it all go wrong?
School and grading; School and Grading
It's an institute you can't disparage;
This I tell ya, brother, you can't have one without the other.
Maybe I should back up some -- or a lot.
I have been toying around with the concept of standards based grading in my program for more than a year. Finally, I decided that the only way to see how it would work was to put it into practice. The long and short of it was to run a 4-3-2-1 scale with 4- being above and beyond, 3 - meeting standards, 2 - needs improvement and 1 - no evidence. The idea was that I could use the National Ag standards (along with CORE standards) articulated in my CASE curriculum to assess student learning in a much more meaningful way. No late penalties, no zeros, no failing, no extra credit. Did you learn and what can we help you with if you didn't. All 2's (or 1's) are re-mediated to help the student understand the concept and then changed to a 3 once they can meet the standard. My largest problem is implementing a system that is not meant to ever be compared to an A-B-C-D system but at the end of the semester - having to make the results fit that system. Such is the life of trying new things I guess.
Another brick in my proverbial paving job to Hades. Sometimes I wonder if my life is meant to serve as a warning to others.
For the most part -- the students have been exceedingly accepting of the idea. In fact, they have been rather agreeable to the concept of being more concerned with their 'learning' rather than with their 'grade'. But their parents....
The reaction from parents was across the board. Apathy, indifference, anger, anxiety, stress, ignorance. Several times the inference of 'Sally or Tommy' always being a 4.0 student was mentioned along with overtures of how this would affect their GPA. When did a 4.0 mean a guaranteed golden ticket to the success super-highway??
Grading should be a by-product of learning -- not the reason for it.
Which is why I have tried to implement this system into my program. Less reasons to chase grades and more reasons to learn.
Maybe I'm just being crazy, or maybe I'm just ahead of the curve... but maybe it's a lunatic we should be looking for.
Hope everyone has a great time at National FFA Convention later this month and have made plans for NAAE Convention in .... where was it again? Some po-dunk little place no one has ever heard of out in the desert someplace. Guess we will have to make our own fun.
Remember - I'm pulling for ya; we're all in this together, ME