Friday, December 09, 2005

Education --> "School Stress" updated 12/8/05 - It's Grading Time - Has your "Joy of Learning" Been Deflated?

It’s everywhere, nothing but stress and more stress at school. I’m talking 2nd grade to 16. I’m sure K & 1st probably have stress but I only have applied experience with the grades mentioned.

State testing has completed in most schools, kids and teachers are getting more sleep since they don’t have to lay awake in bed worrying if their school and jobs are in jeopardy (at least until the scores come out). I heard one instructor state that they can now begin teaching, another one said I can teach “Time (clock)” to my class since it’s not important enough to be on the state test.

After class last week a number of my classmates stopped me and asked why I seem so calm. A number of presentations and project reports are due next week. My only response is “ I don’t believe in grades.” If I’m learning I’m happy. I am learning in this class from the instructor and from my classmates. I asked would they rather receive a “C” and learn valuable information or would they rather receive and “A” do little work and learn nothing (in college students search and wait for instructors who give out no learning and easy grades, even if it means they don't graduate that semester). They all chose the “A.” Responses included “My scholarship will be revoked if I don’t keep a “B” average” or “My parents will cut off my money supply.”

I have nothing more to say…

UPDATED 12/08/05


The above post was written a month ago. I ended it by saying I had nothing more to say. I'm not sure I can add to what I wrote but I can share what our higher education system continues to do each grading period.

Perhaps it’s the tears, or maybe it’s the body language that has left a person beat-up after a ten round fight. For the life of me I can’t believe the roadblocks, miscommunications, lack of standardization that is rampant in our educational system. In most cases the students have no recourse, end of class surveys and taking your case up the ladder meets resistance at every turn. Class sizes are so big that students who are not AAA type personalities get lost in the crowd of overachievers and orators.

Everyone talks the “WHAT,” but no one really gives the “HOW” until they recognize what it is there given is not correct. Believe it or not it is not just the students. Most instructors are bound by out-dated university rules that force them to utilize grading instruments that are as old as the old school house around the corner.

Grades do nothing but force every student in a class into the same square and hope they all fit through. Those that don’t are cast off and made to feel less than adequate. Grades impact so many students that are talented, bright and above all passionate that many change majors and life ambitions because of one stinking class/grade.

qualityg jr. had trouble in his freshman and sophomore years with math. He had two foreign instructors that made it very difficult to understand what was being written and stated in class. Efforts to get help from grad assistants were futile because of the long lines and 2-3 hour wait (very low grades in both classes). He changed his major and began a string of deans list that included retaking (more time and money) the two math classes that resulted in good grades from different instructors (same math classes). This happens all the time and students feel they have no recourse because of tenure and the administration that just doesn't believe this is a problem.

Where are the school psychologists, where are the counselors, advisors and mentors? I’m telling you right now you are not worth the grain of road salt I just drove over if you don’t start to understand “Variation” and “Systems Thinking.” Keep sitting in your offices, keep telling students that they can’t challenge the system and that’s just the way it is; will someone please tell me where I am wrong, give me some data, give me some facts, give me the truth and quit hiding behind your paychecks.

Maybe it’s the snow storm I just drove through to get home tonight, maybe it’s the faces I see that describe pain that they won’t keep their scholarship or they won’t get reimbursed by their employer or worse yet it’s the young student that tries to explain to their parents they are doing their best.

Please don’t misinterpret what I am writing, yes I know there are many cases where a student fails to learn the subject matter, but there is no way that they equal the amount of students depressed, exhausted and frightened about what will happen if they don’t get the grade that will grant them a degree or further their education by going to grad school.

Please read two earlier posts on the same subject:

State colleges your dogma is doo doo. and

Report Cards, Who is failing whom?



Anonymous said...

I'm an assistant professor who in principle believes what your are saying. However, until a better means of grading comes along we need to stick with the one who brought us to the dance.

qualityg says said...

I would go "Stag" to your dance "AP." If you believe in the principle of which I write, then believ in yourself and help make a difference to change the system.

Otherwise, continue to stay the Wallflower you are and sit back and watch.