It’s Time We Hold Accountability Accountable

The maxim “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” (often misattributed to Peter Drucker) sums up the continued belief in the necessity and power of accountability. A lack of accountability is seen as a sure path to lawlessness, indolence, and corruption. We don’t trust people who are unwilling, unprepared, or otherwise unable to … Continue reading It’s Time We Hold Accountability Accountable

What Happened When I Procrastinated Giving Grades

Procrastination is such a dirty word. In our competitive, production minded society, procrastinating is a sin, but I have always been a procrastinator. There is something about waiting until the last minute that is alluring and exhilarating: the adrenaline rush, the caffeine binge, the loss of sleep. Despite all those thrilling benefits, I have rarely … Continue reading What Happened When I Procrastinated Giving Grades

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

Gradeless: A Culture of Possibility

Five years ago, I was presented with an opportunity to teach an evening education course at Eastern Washington University. Already wearing too many hats as a high school English teacher, department chair, district literacy leader, multiple-committee member, husband, father, and the list goes on, I didn’t immediately jump at the chance. But after a weekend-long … Continue reading Gradeless: A Culture of Possibility

Beyond Mandates and Measurement: Lessons from Genocidal Education

In 2005, after my first year teaching junior high English, Illinois passed a mandate to expand the required Holocaust unit to include other acts of genocide. Like most new teachers, I turned to colleagues for help, but found very few knew much about genocide beyond the Holocaust. So I began seeking genocide literature appropriate for junior … Continue reading Beyond Mandates and Measurement: Lessons from Genocidal Education

To Change Everything While Changing Nothing: Going Gradeless

This is the first in a series of posts exploring teaching and learning in the de-graded and de-tested language arts classroom. The first thing I tell teachers about removing grades is that it changes everything while simultaneously changing nothing. Students still come to class, complete assignments, and receive feedback. Hyper-students, kids who have successfully mastered … Continue reading To Change Everything While Changing Nothing: Going Gradeless