How about no grades for classwork? It might happen in some North Texas classrooms this ... - 51 views
One idea brought up by several speakers this year is a hybrid grades-free way of evaluating students. In each case, it included a high-bar pass/fail approach to class assignments, with a final, more regular grade for the entire semester.
One of the speakers who presented what he called a “Not Yet” grade was “digital ethnographer” Michael Wesch, a professor at Kansas State University. That’s his photo at the top.
He told the crowd that they had to inspire “wonder” in their students in order to get them to learn as much as possible. Some key quotes from him:
“Low standards/high stakes are the opposite of what you want.”
“The new divide will be between those with wonder and curiosity and those without.”
Keynote speaker George Couros is a what’s called a “division principal” back home in Canada. He’s a blogger and author who is all about encouraging creativity and change in public education with an emphasis on taking advantage of digital tools.
He told the conference that that it’s foolish to deny students use of their smartphones and other digital tools in the classroom — and even on exams. In 2015, being able to figure out what information is relevant is more important than memorization when most facts are a click away, he said.
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“The world only cares what you can do with what you know,” Couros said.
He said he clashed with a teacher back home who complained that his approach would let students Google up the answers for her exams. His response:
“If I can look up the answers to the questions on your test on Google, your questions suck.”
Students get assignments, of course. And they are expected to complete them. In fact, they are required to master them. So kids who might have been happy to get the equivalent of a C on an assignment in another classroom would be required to work at it until they hit the level defined as “mastery.” And the teachers keep track of whether the students have succeeded, whether they’re turning work in on time and whether they are responding to feedback.