From Hostility to Community

In our dream we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of … Continue reading From Hostility to Community

School Without Scoreboards

Sports as Metaphor Formative assessment and standards-based learning enthusiasts often seize on the metaphor of coaching to describe a better approach to feedback, assessment, and grading. I myself have employed this metaphor many times. Here’s a post I wrote a few months ago: This feedback cycle is not unlike the process used by coaches to prepare players for an upcoming … Continue reading School Without Scoreboards

The Grade Divide

Take a moment to think about the purpose of grades. What comes to mind? Historically speaking, grades were verbal reports from the teacher to parents about what students knew and could do, as well as areas in which they could improve (Brookhardt et al). Percentages and letter grades entered the academic scene in the early 20th century, … Continue reading The Grade Divide

Hate the Game, Not the Gamers

Recently, I have been following a conversation on Twitter about why certain assessment methods are better than others (see Aaron Blackwelder’s post about cheating). One of the ideas coming out of this conversation is that educators can gauge a method’s effectiveness by whether it can be ‘gamed’ by students. Wikipedia defines gaming as using the rules … Continue reading Hate the Game, Not the Gamers

Grades, Equity, and the Grammar of School

After observing the “shattering effect [of grades] on the ‘bottom' group” of students, Merla Sparks got permission from her principal to trial a gradeless system with five classes of students who were grouped at the ‘bottom’ of her school. Sparks quickly found that “Imaginative ideas spilled out all over the paper when the student knew … Continue reading Grades, Equity, and the Grammar of School