Image courtesy of stux from Pixabay
Wanna know how schools are doing? Here’ a report (card).
But first, an admission: In the broadest sense, I don’t understand what’s happening with the nation’s institutions of learning.
They were once buildings where youngsters acquired basic and objective knowledge, with maybe some critical thinking thrown in.
These days, it seems things are critical — and it hasn’t helped that they appear to have ditched thinking.
English, science, reading, history, literature, geography, and mathematics appear to have taken a back seat to politics, social engineering, cultural flag-plants, and other non-academic extras.
But in a Madison, Wisconsin school district, at least the kids can’t get an F in WhateverItIs.
On Wednesday, a senior reporter for The College Fix recounted his recent experience as a parent: His daughter brought home her kind and gentle grades.
I give you dad Christian Schneider:
This week, I received my second-grade daughter’s report card from the Madison Metropolitan School District, on which she was given a grade of “EX,” “M,” “DV,” or “E.”
Here’s what it all means:
- Exceeding – Student consistently exceeds grade-level expectations for the end of the year.
- Meeting – Student consistently meets grade-level expectations for the end of the year.
- Developing – Student is developing understanding and is approaching grade-level expectations for the end of the year.
- Emerging – Student begins to show initial understanding of grade-level expectations for the end of the year.
But don’t misunderstand — it ain’t new:
This grading scale, used district-wide, has been in place for a decade. But as you can see, every grade is dripping with optimism, presuming every child is on the road to excellence – the only thing they are being graded on is the speed at which they are attaining complete world knowledge.
And thanks to the system…
I have no clue how my child is doing in school. None of these “grades” correspond to the “A to F” scale – further, they are all relative to what is expected by the end of the year, not specifically how well a child did during the time period tested.
Christian’s proud to report that his oldest daughter — who grew up meeting, emerging, and exceeding — has gone on to to thrive at her traditional-grading high school.
But normal, ya gotta go:
Lest anyone think the high school deserves credit for sticking with tradition, it is proposing a new “grade floor” to give students an automatic 40 percent credit for not turning in assignments, and allowing them up to 90 percent credit for turning in assignments late.
Ready for more confusion? Here’s some:
The two scales don’t match up largely because the new grades assigned don’t address a specific class or subject – they deal mostly with behavior. The “Exceeding-Emerging” scale applies to 40 different classifications. Instead of being graded on “math” or “science,” my daughter is being graded on “Tells a story or describes an experience,” “cooperates with partners and in groups,” and “understands and identifies stages in the life cycle of insects.”
And it’s not just that school:
A friend of mine noted that her school had recently moved to a number system, where a “4” was the best and “1” was the worst. “But a 3 meant that your kid is doing fine whether the kid had As or Cs,” she told me. “You didn’t learn the truth until middle school.”
So why the change? Because in the old days, they were doing it wrong.
Here’s Palo Alto Online:
Standards-based learning evolved in response to what proponents see as flaws in the traditional grading system: the conflation of behavior and academics, averaging of scores, high-stakes tests and embedded inequalities that tip the scales toward students with more resources, such as tutors or homework help from parents. In the standards-based model, students are given frequent opportunities to practice and improve, including by retaking tests to address the specific areas in which they’re struggling. A student who improves over the course of a class gets credit for that rather than being penalized for poor performance on an early test due to averaging. Homework becomes an optional means for practice rather than points toward a grade.
Get schooled a little more by The Daily Wire:
In other school districts, the terms “failure,” and “at risk” are also being scrubbed, out of similar concern, according to Education Week. In California, the qualification, “at risk” is all but banned, and mentions of the term “in the state’s educational and penal codes have been changed to ‘at-promise,’ a term that supporters argue is less stigmatizing.”
So there ya are. Now go make babies and send them all to public schools.
As for me, I’m stuck in the mud of old. And in my inability to get with the times, I’m clinging to conventional grading.
So for all these new methods, I give everyone an F.
But the joke’s on me: In the end, thanks to what looks to be a complete abandonment of the rigid education of America’s future, I myself — like all the rest of you — am F’d.
It’s merely anecdotal, but I thought you might enjoy this.
Tonight, I took two shirts to the counter of one of America’s most popular clothing stores. The girl rang up my total and said it was $32.XX. I looked at the tags on the shirts, and each showed $19.95.
“I thought these were 50% off,” I said.
“They are,” she replied.
“But that would be, essentially, $10 each.”
“No, each one is $14.95 plus tax.
“That isn’t 50%.”
“Yes, it is. Each shirt is 25% percent off. So two shirts, each 25% off — that’s 50% off.
While this was a new math for me, I’m really excited: The next time I go in there, if I can find ten things that are each 10% off, everything will be free.
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