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WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 03:54 PM
So, THIS THREAD (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?244732-Teacher-fired-for-refusing-to-give-students-credit-for-homework-not-turned-in&p=5684938#post5684938) about a teacher refusing to follow a school policy to give 50% credit for homework that is not handed in got the reaction I expected: a lot of people found the 50% policy unfair, even stupid. I explained on that thread why they might want to reconsider that reaction--in short, basic math shows that giving a 0% for missing work (the instinctive response for most of us) over-weights the F category and makes an accurate assessment of student learning impossible. Giving a 50% creates, surprisingly, a much more accurate assessment.

Another problem with grades as they are commonly structured is that work ethic/responsibility is measured by the same number (grade) that measures actual learning--thus guaranteeing that both measures will be inaccurate except for those students with a perfect work ethic and perfect A-level content mastery.

So, what to do about that? The school I teach at is reconsidering their grading policy because of these questions, and I have proposed the idea below. I'd welcome any input, critique, or suggestions from anyone who cares to read and comment. Thanks in advance! Here goes:

Divide grades into 2 separate categories: one for learning/content mastery, and one for work ethic (handing things in on time, bringing required materials to class, taking care of textbooks, etc.).

If a student knows the content, they pass the class and get the credit.

If a student fails the work ethic (even if they pass the content grade), they are placed in a required class or support team to teach organization, study skills, time management, note taking, using a planner, etc.

If we're really serious about it, we make it a formal graduation requirement to earn a 2.0 GPA (C) in your overall work ethic grades throughout your high school career. Put some teeth into it in the short term (graduation), because adolescents are not renowned for their ability to recognize long-term consequences and act accordingly.

I'd be keenly interested in feedback about this idea. Thanks!

Tom

Ian McColgin
09-29-2018, 04:33 PM
The schools I attended, pubic and more so private where I was in no class of more that six, gave grades on measured academic ability - tests, papers, class participation. Issues of work ethic were handled between teacher and student on more of a counseling basis to ensure that each student developed individuality. But that's only possible if you have a really good student/teacher ratio.

McMike
09-29-2018, 05:02 PM
I went to one of the highest rated public high schools, in one of the highest rated states for education. I graduated with a B average, I think it was a 2.99 GPA. When I went off to a state university, they found that I couldn't read, wright or do math at an 8th grade level. I struggled miserably and later found out that I had been suffering through profound dyslexia which had not been diagnosed until my 2nd year in University, it was too late, I dropped out. The public school system let me skate and gave me an unearned diploma. Now, that was 25 years ago, so I guess things have changed. But then perhaps we got worse; we are now behind 27 other countries in education? There is something wrong with education, maybe there was always something wrong with it. There is also something horribly wrong with parents, society. I have nothing but contempt for this country, one that neglects it young, old, sick . . . one that elects Trump. I am ashamed.

Because parents fail at being parents most of the time, we need a robust educational system that also takes a large role in actually raising the kids too. We need year round school. We need to criminalize parental neglect and send those parents who choose to not give a sh17 to forced labor in order top pay their offspring's way through higher education.

Peerie Maa
09-29-2018, 05:49 PM
WI-Tom, you might find these interesting
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/assessment-after-levels
and https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/sites/gl/files/images/Life-after-Levels-webinar-UK-Nov14.pdf

CWSmith
09-29-2018, 06:13 PM
Teachers can always have a policy of throwing out a few of the lowest grades in determining the average. This whole problem the teacher experienced is nothing more than the snowflake problem and the weak, spineless inability of the administration to stand up to parents.

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 06:28 PM
Thanks for the responses, but can anyone comment on the proposal in the OP?

Nick, thanks for the link--interesting. I've only skimmed through but see lots I agree with.

Tom

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 06:32 PM
Teachers can always have a policy of throwing out a few of the lowest grades in determining the average.

True. Some will, some won't. But if this is the right thing to do, should it be mandated? How many scores? And should ALL outliers (high and low) be discarded before calculating a grade? Or just low? If so, why just the low scores? Isn't that "giving students something for nothing"--exactly the thing that people hate about the 50% for missed work?


This whole problem the teacher experienced is nothing more than the snowflake problem and the weak, spineless inability of the administration to stand up to parents.

Well, if you read the other thread, you've seen my argument about why that's the wrong conclusion to reach. But it's irrelevant to this thread, where I'm seeking feedback on another idea altogether.

Tom

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 06:35 PM
The schools I attended, pubic and more so private where I was in no class of more that six, gave grades on measured academic ability - tests, papers, class participation. Issues of work ethic were handled between teacher and student on more of a counseling basis to ensure that each student developed individuality. But that's only possible if you have a really good student/teacher ratio.

Ian,

thanks for this. I love that approach, and it may well work at my school--we have very small class sizes. The issue, I predict, would be that some teachers will feel that it would equate to "letting students get away with something" and would dig in in opposition. I'm always surprised at how eagerly many teachers embrace the role of "punisher" for all the things their students do that they disapprove of.

Was that an issue at that school?

Thanks,

Tom

George Jung
09-29-2018, 06:47 PM
Ian,

thanks for this. I love that approach, and it may well work at my school--we have very small class sizes. The issue, I predict, would be that some teachers will feel that it would equate to "letting students get away with something" and would dig in in opposition. I'm always surprised at how eagerly many teachers embrace the role of "punisher" for all the things their students do that they disapprove of.

Was that an issue at that school?

Thanks,

Tom

interesting insight. I suppose every profession attracts folks with authority issues. I like your ideas. Wonder if, if implemented, you’d need an inservice or seminar similar to how you’ve explained here, why it’s more fair and accurate. Ya need buy-in. AFA what works best- needs a study- like medicine does. That happen in education?

McMike
09-29-2018, 07:00 PM
Tom,

Your ideas are fine and fair and they're even realistic in terms of implementing. Simply put, parents just won't go for it because it means they have to work at getting their children to meet actual standards instead of flying off the handle at teachers the one or two times a year and pretending that's parenting.

George Jung
09-29-2018, 07:04 PM
No, they can still fly off the handle. This isn’t a cure-all!

skuthorp
09-29-2018, 07:07 PM
Tom, I failed miserably at maths at high school, but I knew the work it seems as it all kicked in just a year or two later when I needed it for my apprenticeship. I looked up my maths teacher, Mr Will who must have given me up as a dead loss to tell him how grateful I was.

On the business of non return of assignments and homework, how about another category? NR, as in no report?

AverageMatt
09-29-2018, 08:30 PM
In the spirit of sharpening your pitch:

What problem with the existing system is this proposal solving? Are we worried that we are not preparing kids for harder classes as they advance years? Are we trying to give credit to hard workers who may struggle more with the subject? Why is it important to rate kids on work ethic?

If work ethic is simply measured of whether assignments are handed in, then will you really get a different set of scores, or will the work ethic scores show the same (mostly) distribution? I can imagine that the parental involvement which (I assume) benefits the better students will have similar positive impact on work ethic grades. Will this system really have the effect of bringing up grades of lower-performing kids?

Some kids (me as a student) abhor the tedium of doing endless problems when they already understand the subject. They may be hard workers, but struggle to do pointless work. Some kids don’t learn best by doing typical homework. Seems these kids may be (unfairly) penalized by the way work ethic is measured.

Another criticism you may get is a comparison of your work ethic grade to a participation trophy, kids getting credit for just showing up. I don’t necessarily agree, but I can imagine a lot of people will not understand the difference.

I hope these give you some food for thought, and I appreciate you are pushing to improve the system.

Matt

Too Little Time
09-29-2018, 09:48 PM
If a student knows the content, ...

If a student fails the work ethic, ...
I am not sure what content or work ethic is necessary to learn in school.

I do understand my preferences for understanding the written or spoken word. But considering the view of my level of these skills on this site, it might be that there is little hope for teaching or measuring these skills by high school.

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 10:17 PM
interesting insight. I suppose every profession attracts folks with authority issues. I like your ideas. Wonder if, if implemented, you’d need an inservice or seminar similar to how you’ve explained here, why it’s more fair and accurate. Ya need buy-in. AFA what works best- needs a study- like medicine does. That happen in education?

George,

you're dead on with this comment about buy-in. I think the school I'm currently at is pretty good at involving teachers in policy decisions, but for sure if they decide to change something as big as grading (whether it's my idea or something else, they're looking at it), they will need to provide a good evidence and logic-based rationale to make it real in the classroom. Otherwise it's very easy for teachers to ignore what they don't believe in. I'm often guilty of that myself.

Tom

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 10:18 PM
Tom,

Your ideas are fine and fair and they're even realistic in terms of implementing. Simply put, parents just won't go for it because it means they have to work at getting their children to meet actual standards instead of flying off the handle at teachers the one or two times a year and pretending that's parenting.

Thanks for the comment. You may be right.

Tom

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 10:23 PM
Tom, I failed miserably at maths at high school, but I knew the work it seems as it all kicked in just a year or two later when I needed it for my apprenticeship. I looked up my maths teacher, Mr Will who must have given me up as a dead loss to tell him how grateful I was.

On the business of non return of assignments and homework, how about another category? NR, as in no report?

The NR category is a good one, and a valid response. How can I assess what students know if they don't complete the assessment?

The difficulty becomes, at the end of the semester, grades are expected. What happens to the NR now? How does it factor into calculating the grade? Do we ignore it if the student does well on finals and demonstrates mastery of content knowledge? And if we do, is that the same problem of giving them "something for nothing?"

And will students see this and realize it's a free ticket to skipping whatever homework they want to skip? And would that matter? And if it doesn't matter, are students completely wasting their time in that class?

But I will think more about the NR idea--thanks. There may be a way to make it work.

Tom

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 10:42 PM
In the spirit of sharpening your pitch:

What problem with the existing system is this proposal solving?

Good question. I probably wasn't clear about that. What our school started with is a simple question: What should the policy be for late or missing work? Some teachers believe very strongly that students should get a 0% on every missed assignment--there's a powerful moral outrage at "giving them something for nothing." But when you analyze the effects of that practice, it's quite clear that giving students a 50% for missed assignments creates a MUCH more accurate overall assessment of what they actually know about the subject.

However, lots of teachers (and parents) would be offended at the idea of giving 50% because they rightly point out that schools need to teach more than simple knowledge. We want to teach responsibility, work ethic, consequences, timeliness, etc. as well. So there would be massive resistance to the idea of giving a 50% for a missed assignment. Even though, mathematically, that is clearly the correct policy, it fails the moral/ethical test.

So dividing "knowledge" and "work ethic" into two separate grades for each class is an attempt to get an accurate assessment of knowledge (impossible with a combined score) while still enforcing the moral/ethical standards teachers and parents believe in. Teachers (I hypothesize) would be comfortable with the idea of giving missing work a 50%, because they know students would be held accountable for work ethic and responsibility in a separate grade.


If work ethic is simply measured of whether assignments are handed in, then will you really get a different set of scores, or will the work ethic scores show the same (mostly) distribution? I can imagine that the parental involvement which (I assume) benefits the better students will have similar positive impact on work ethic grades. Will this system really have the effect of bringing up grades of lower-performing kids?

Again, great questions. The purpose as I see it is NOT to improve anyone's grade. The purpose is to find a way to provide accurate assessments of what students know, and how well they are succeeding in applying a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility.


Some kids (me as a student) abhor the tedium of doing endless problems when they already understand the subject. They may be hard workers, but struggle to do pointless work. Some kids don’t learn best by doing typical homework. Seems these kids may be (unfairly) penalized by the way work ethic is measured.

Yes, students who skip all the homework but ace the projects and tests are penalized. But they are also penalized in the current system that lumps knowledge and work ethic into a single grade and provides inaccurate assessments of both. So my proposal doesn't solve this--but then, it's not designed to. That's why I called it a "modest" proposal. It's really just a work-around for the 50% policy to be acceptable. Solving the bigger problems of grades... Well, I have my own thoughts on that, but it would be a major uphill battle. I may fight it yet. Someday.


Another criticism you may get is a comparison of your work ethic grade to a participation trophy, kids getting credit for just showing up. I don’t necessarily agree, but I can imagine a lot of people will not understand the difference.

You may be right, but I don't know what the "trophy" would be. If a student shows up on time every day, and hands in every assignment, they would get a good grade for work ethic. They could, however, still fail the academic part of class and not earn the credit. The only thing they "get" by maintaining a 2.0 GPA in their work ethic grades is an exemption from study skills/work ethic class, and eligibility for graduation.

What does everyone else think? Does it strike some of you as a participation trophy? If so, how could that perception (or reality) be addressed?

Thanks, all, for your comments and questions. It's really helpful to hear thoughtful responses.

Tom

skuthorp
09-29-2018, 10:46 PM
The business of completing tasks (assignments) is very much tied up with the work ethic, training for a working life where performance of assigned tasks is how you keep your job. Self-discipline if you will. Here half the final marks are based on assignments completed during the year. Call it learning self-discipline if you will.
At the end of the year there were say, 8 assignments to complete. The mark might read 5 (number handed in) and 72 (mark for those handed in). If every assignment has a possible top mark of say 50 then the accumulated possibility is 400. So 5/72, with a formula to come up with a final mark. You get my drift?

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 10:46 PM
I am not sure what content or work ethic is necessary to learn in school.

Read this:

English/Language Arts Common Core Standards (http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/)

and you will see what is legally required of public school English classes in the U.S. I don't know if "legally required" meets your definition of "necessary" but that's part of how I think as a teacher.


I do understand my preferences for understanding the written or spoken word. But considering the view of my level of these skills on this site, it might be that there is little hope for teaching or measuring these skills by high school.

I'm also quite confident, based on the best current neuroscience, and on my own experience, that the human brain is extremely mutable in response to stimuli and usage, making learning a real possibility at any age.

Tom

skuthorp
09-29-2018, 10:51 PM
Do you still teach writing Tom? Writing skills are falling here, as is traditional english expression as gaming terms and cell phone short-speak change the language yet again. I heard a reading of Shakespearian sonnets in 'recreated' English of the time. Like listening to patois.

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 10:55 PM
The business of completing tasks (assignments) is very much tied up with the work ethic, training for a working life where performance of assigned tasks is how you keep your job. Self-discipline if you will. Here half the final marks are based on assignments completed during the year. Call it learning self-discipline if you will.
At the end of the year there were say, 8 assignments to complete. The mark might read 5 (number handed in) and 72 (mark for those handed in). If every assignment has a possible top mark of say 50 then the accumulated possibility is 400. So 5/72, with a formula to come up with a final mark. You get my drift?

Interesting--thanks. But how do you convert the 5/72 to a final mark?

And is the other half of the grade a final exam covering material from the entire class?

Tom

George Jung
09-29-2018, 10:55 PM
The grading curve doesn’t kick in until, what, 65%? Below that is failing; if no assignments turned in, a 65% would reflect that- better than an accumulation of 0%, which would be insurmountable. It all depends on what your intended outcome is- measure mastery, or compliance.

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 11:04 PM
Do you still teach writing Tom? Writing skills are falling here, as is traditional english expression as gaming terms and cell phone short-speak change the language yet again. I heard a reading of Shakespearian sonnets in 'recreated' English of the time. Like listening to patois.

Ha! In the latest round of essays (actually quite good), the most frequent comment I made was "Ouch! You are writing an essay, not texting."

I do teach writing, and love it. My approach (shared in our department) is to find models to emulate--short readings that students recognize as good writing--and identify specific things those writers are doing. So, we might recognize that Sandra Cisneros is able to imply a theme in her closing scene, and make that a target for our class essay for the week. At the same time, we recognize Annie Dillard's use of a blank line as a transition between sections, and try that. And analyze a paragraph to see what sentence structures the writer uses, and use that as a pattern to follow.

It's a very practical appoach, all based off of what good writers do, NOT what the "rules" are. I love it.

How 'bout you?

On the question of language, have you read David Foster Wallace's "Authority and American Usage?" His point is that, the conventions of Standard Written English (what we could call formal academic, educated usage) is not necessarily "better" or "more correct" than things like dialects, slang, texting, etc.--but that it's the language the English-speaking world uses to talk to itself about ideas. And that to be taken seriously, you need to master it. I kind of take the same view.

Tom

WI-Tom
09-29-2018, 11:06 PM
The grading curve doesn’t kick in until, what, 65%? Below that is failing; if no assignments turned in, a 65% would reflect that- better than an accumulation of 0%, which would be insurmountable. It all depends on what your intended outcome is- measure mastery, or compliance.

In much of the U.S. these days, a 60% is a D-. F begins at 59%.

But your observation about mastery vs. compliance is spot on. I'm arguing that maybe a separate grade for each would be more accurate than combining them.

Tom

skuthorp
09-29-2018, 11:15 PM
Of course no chldl is the same, and there may be domestic reasons why the pupil is not completing assignments that as a school you have no control over, and neither may the child. Drugs, booze, domestic violence, insecure accomodation, too much time on a keyboard, an attitude that education is an 'elite' matter, even resentment. Even something undiagnosed like hearing or dislexia or just plain lack of sleep.
It's never straightforward.

On language, it is very important that you say what you mean, and others understand what you mean for perfectly technical reasons.

LongJohn
09-30-2018, 02:47 AM
Tom -

Education is a tough business.

On a personal level, son #1 absolutely and violently REFUSED to engage in school starting in the 5th grade. Years of parental effort, school system IEPs, compassionate teachers, etc., could not change his refusal to engage in his education. He was given a GED at 19 when they finally lowered the bar enough for him to step over. Son #2, on the other hand, was completely engaged and never needed any encouragement from his parents to excel. He was a bit embarrassed to bring home his first ever A- as a sophomore in college.

Professionally, I often teach a tough, 5 credit, 100 level biology course at a mid-level U of W campus. Most of the students who do well in my course are bright and have good study skills. Others are less clever, but succeed with diligence and hard work. The middle of the pack is commonly composed of smart students with poor study skills or lack of effort, and those with good habits who are pushing the edges of their intellectual limits. Most of the students at the bottom of the grade sheet probably don't belong in college due to lack of motivation (mostly) or, in some cases, an inability to keep up with and process the flow of information.

Getting back to your original question (sort of,,,), it seems to me that the most valuable lesson to teach your students is to learn how to learn. That, and to instill excitement and enthusiasm for the whole idea of learning new things. Teaching and encouraging them to put in the effort to learn about a wide range of subjects, regardless of their level of interest, will serve them well in any life, educational, or career path.

Seems to me that acknowledging and rewarding effort is a good and important step toward building good study/learning skills. I'm not so sure that giving 50% for zero effort is the right approach. I address that issue in my class by offering an optional, comprehensive exam at the end of the semester that can be used to replace the lowest 25% of their scores.

My $0.02,
- John

Dannybb55
09-30-2018, 06:53 AM
I spent my first 9 years 4yr k through 7th grade at a small private school. The grade scale was A B C F, no D with 7 points per grade. We were taught critical thinking, French, Music, Art, Science, History, Phys Ed, Advanced Math, Social Science from the first grade on. It was a well rounded curriculum. When I went to 8th grade Jr high I learned about gangs, getting killed for your shoes, rape, 18 yo with graders, coke dealers and the general malaise found among public school students and staff. In high school I got reacquainted with my 4th French text and only had to work from my notes. For my senior year, my parents found a way to get me out and send me to Fork Union Military Acadamy for a solid year of grade recovery, excellent teaching and rigorous academic excelltnce. The material coming out of the meat thunders now is entitled worthlessness. These kids are impossible to train, I can see why the military is switching to drones.

McMike
09-30-2018, 06:59 AM
No, they can still fly off the handle. This isn’t a cure-all!

It only works if the parents decide to do their effen job. So, the starting point is making neglect criminal to a far greater degree than it is now. I other words, legally redefine what it is to be a parent and make parents be responsible for their offspring whether they want to or not.

McMike
09-30-2018, 07:04 AM
Study finds US ranks 27th among nations investing in education, health care (https://phys.org/news/2018-09-27th-nations-investing-health.html)


The United States ranks 27th in the world for its investments in education and health care as measurements of its commitment to economic growth, according to the first-ever scientific study ranking countries for their levels of human capital.

The nation placed just behind Australia (ranked 26th) and just ahead of Czech Republic (ranked 28th). In contrast, China's ranking of 44th in 2016 represents an increase from its 1990 ranking of 69th.

"The decline of human capital in the United States was one of the biggest surprises in our study," said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. "Our findings show the association between investments in education and health and improved human capital and GDP—which policymakers here in the US ignore at their own peril. As the world economy grows increasingly dependent on digital technology, from agriculture to manufacturing to the service industry, human capital grows increasingly important for stimulating local and national economies."


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-27th-nations-investing-health.html#jCp

Too Little Time
09-30-2018, 09:39 AM
Read this:

English/Language Arts Common Core Standards (http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/)

and you will see what is legally required of public school English classes in the U.S. I don't know if "legally required" meets your definition of "necessary" but that's part of how I think as a teacher.
I am sure we can agree that reading, writing, and arithmetic are necessary to learn in school. That is the easy part.

I am almost certain that other content is taught in schools. That is the difficult part.

I would point out that reading, writing, and arithmetic could be and often are taught as part of other content.

oznabrag
09-30-2018, 10:36 AM
The schools I attended, pubic and more so private. . .

Oh, you just have to love a good typo!

rbgarr
09-30-2018, 10:45 AM
A discouraging problem for my kids at their school wasn't about turning in their homework but getting late, no or useless commentary by the teacher when they may have misunderstood or answered wrongly. A comment "See me." a month after the assignment has been turned in isn't much help at the time of the lesson in the curriculum.

They had excellent grades nonetheless, so grading methods aren't necessarily as critical an issue with the most impact on learning.

George Jung
09-30-2018, 11:26 AM
It only works if the parents decide to do their effen job. So, the starting point is making neglect criminal to a far greater degree than it is now. I other words, legally redefine what it is to be a parent and make parents be responsible for their offspring whether they want to or not.


Recognize the the sentiment but poor parents in prison isn’t the answer. HS for me was pretty boring- would have welcomed a much more rigorous option instead of classes paced for the less- attentive. Same with college though I lucked out with a particularly gifted, demanding professor in my major. I was self motivated; that makes all the difference. Not sure how you instill that. But especially in general ed, it’s geared for ‘the middle’ with some left behind and others bored. How to create the proper environment for all, eh? But I wonder- those nations with better outcomes? What are they doing differently?

McMike
09-30-2018, 11:26 AM
A discouraging problem for my kids at their school wasn't about turning in their homework but getting late, no or useless commentary by the teacher when they may have misunderstood or answered wrongly. A comment "See me." a month after the assignment has been turned in isn't much help at the time of the lesson in the curriculum.

They had excellent grades nonetheless, so grading methods aren't necessarily as critical an issue with the most impact on learning.

Sounds like my job. Also sounds like they're stronger for it, having succeeded despite it being hard. The world is ambiguous and usually only recognizes mistakes, kids need to be brought up and taught the same way the real world is or they will flounder and most will fail.

McMike
09-30-2018, 11:32 AM
Recognize the the sentiment but poor parents in prison isn’t the answer. HS for me was pretty boring- would have welcomed a much more rigorous option instead of classes paced for the less- attentive. Same with college though I lucked out with a particularly gifted, demanding professor in my major. I was self motivated; that makes all the difference. Not sure how you instill that. But especially in general ed, it’s geared for ‘the middle’ with some left behind and others bored. How to create the proper environment for all, eh? But I wonder- those nations with better outcomes? What are they doing differently?

See, here's the rub; bad parenting is the leading cause of crime and the leading cause of children not meeting their individual potential. When those kids fail, we, the tax payers, and we, as society, foot the bill and feel the consequences. I think we need to pass that cost onto sh177y parents. Their perceived right to be a shi77y parent infringes upon my right to not have to pay for it financially and societally.

George Jung
09-30-2018, 12:16 PM
How? If they were such great parents, they’d be ‘more able’- likely more educated, more money for living, etc. being ‘unable’ doesn’t stop you from having kids.

rbgarr
09-30-2018, 01:24 PM
Sounds like my job. Also sounds like they're stronger for it, having succeeded despite it being hard. The world is ambiguous and usually only recognizes mistakes, kids need to be brought up and taught the same way the real world is or they will flounder and most will fail.

I disagree. They learned far more from teachers who communicated clearly with them in a timely fashion. Your managers may well get better response from you and others if they spent time identifying things that need attention closer to the time they occur. I don't believe in the nostrum that people learn from failures particularly well. It's coordinated success that helps create more success.

McMike
09-30-2018, 01:49 PM
I disagree. They learned far more from teachers who communicated clearly with them in a timely fashion. Your managers may well get better response from you and others if they spent time identifying things that need attention closer to the time they occur. I don't believe in the nostrum that people learn from failures particularly well. It's coordinated success that helps create more success.

I agree with you 100%, that's how it should be . . . but it's not. We can't teach to some high-minded ideal, we have to teach to reality. As a manager, I try to be as you describe but it's impossible most of the time in small scale manufacturing. There is little, if any, time to sit and reflect, especially because what we build is custom and needs to get done yesterday. I have a 20 year old who works under me who has been brought up think that his every thought is gold and valid and should be addressed; I almost fired him last week because he has something to say about everything, I don't have time for that. I had to chastise him for treating work as his classroom. He then demanded that he should be heard because he might have a great idea, I had no choice but to tell him that I was his boss and under no obligation to listen to him or even entertain his incessant interruptions. When things are slower I take tons of time to explain everything to him but when there's sh17 to do, which is 90% of the time, I can't.

McMike
09-30-2018, 01:56 PM
How? If they were such great parents, they’d be ‘more able’- likely more educated, more money for living, etc. being ‘unable’ doesn’t stop you from having kids.

Maybe it should. You see, you're focusing on how unfair I'm being to parents, but I'm focusing on the inalienable right, that all are created equal and should be given, to the best of our ability as a community, an equal shot to succeed. When parents fail, they are infringing upon the right of their child and that needs to be corrected. I'm all for giving people help and support, but I am not okay with that help not coming with conditions.

Finally, I think we need to recognize that, yes, creating a child is a right, but raising them should be seen as a privilege and one that if not taken seriously, should be taken away, both, for the sake of society and the child.

George Jung
09-30-2018, 02:08 PM
High minded and impossible to implement.

McMike
09-30-2018, 03:03 PM
High minded and impossible to implement.

Yup, so we're all fooked.

George Jung
09-30-2018, 03:36 PM
I'm expecting there's some middle ground, which Tom-Wi has touched on.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
09-30-2018, 03:37 PM
Divide grades into 2 separate categories: one for learning/content mastery, and one for work ethic (handing things in on time, bringing required materials to class, taking care of textbooks, etc.).

I dislike the idea of a subjectively judged "Work Ethic", and I met a peach of an example of 'why not' early this summer.

There is a local kid of about 12 or 13 years old - and outside of the school environment, he has built an enviable set of skills; a clutch of ABRSM grade eights (look it up if that means nothing), has completed the equivalent of the first two years of a farrier/blacksmith apprenticeship - has completed an O level in statistics (normally done at age 16), twice daily he cycles a couple of miles and almost a thousand feet vertically to look after his horse.

One Saturday he received a phone call from a schoolmate asking if he could step into the breach for the school under fourteen sevens rugby team. He grabbed his gear and cycled to the field. During the competition he made the winning try and was awarded man of the match, but left before the presentation to return to the stables.

Monday morning sports class - and he gets a bollocking for "Lack of team involvement".....

What sort of grade might he get from this sports teacher - who is utterly unaware of the outside activities.

I can see merit in some sort of grade for ability to deliver or personal organisation - but it should be against solidly measurable standards.

skuthorp
09-30-2018, 03:53 PM
Heh, "lack of team involvement…………''. I actively eschewed team involvement at school. I operated on the Ghandi principle of passive resistance. Sports teacher gave me a hard time, but I played rugby to outside school. Eventually, in a pupils/teacher game of our football I put my name down for I spear tackled him. My revenge.
Nothing wrong with withdrawing your self from such nonsense.

oznabrag
09-30-2018, 04:05 PM
I dislike the idea of a subjectively judged "Work Ethic", and I met a peach of an example of 'why not' early this summer.

There is a local kid of about 12 or 13 years old - and outside of the school environment, he has built an enviable set of skills; a clutch of ABRSM grade eights (look it up if that means nothing), has completed the equivalent of the first two years of a farrier/blacksmith apprenticeship - has completed an O level in statistics (normally done at age 16), twice daily he cycles a couple of miles and almost a thousand feet vertically to look after his horse.

One Saturday he received a phone call from a schoolmate asking if he could step into the breach for the school under fourteen sevens rugby team. He grabbed his gear and cycled to the field. During the competition he made the winning try and was awarded man of the match, but left before the presentation to return to the stables.

Monday morning sports class - and he gets a bollocking for "Lack of team involvement".....

What sort of grade might he get from this sports teacher - who is utterly unaware of the outside activities.

I can see merit in some sort of grade for ability to deliver or personal organisation - but it should be against solidly measurable standards.

This is a lack of community involvement on the part of the teacher.


Heh, "lack of team involvement…………''. I actively eschewed team involvement at school. I operated on the Ghandi principle of passive resistance. Sports teacher gave me a hard time, but I played rugby to outside school. Eventually, in a pupils/teacher game of our football I put my name down for I spear tackled him. My revenge.
Nothing wrong with withdrawing your self from such nonsense.
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZVMJ9BFYL._SY445_.jpg

WI-Tom
09-30-2018, 05:49 PM
See, here's the rub; bad parenting is the leading cause of crime

That's a big and quite likely--almost certainly--unwarranted assumption. I suspect that poverty is the leading cause of crime. Probably also the leading cause of bad parenting.

Tom

WI-Tom
09-30-2018, 05:55 PM
I dislike the idea of a subjectively judged "Work Ethic"

I agree. But it wouldn't have to be subjective. It would, in fact, be quite easy to measure whether students bring the required materials to class, hand in work on time, etc. Far easier than measuring what students have actually learned and understood.

Tom

WI-Tom
09-30-2018, 06:04 PM
Professionally, I often teach a tough, 5 credit, 100 level biology course at a mid-level U of W campus. Most of the students who do well in my course are bright and have good study skills. Others are less clever, but succeed with diligence and hard work. The middle of the pack is commonly composed of smart students with poor study skills or lack of effort, and those with good habits who are pushing the edges of their intellectual limits.

That's my impression of my students as well.


Getting back to your original question (sort of,,,), it seems to me that the most valuable lesson to teach your students is to learn how to learn. That, and to instill excitement and enthusiasm for the whole idea of learning new things. Teaching and encouraging them to put in the effort to learn about a wide range of subjects, regardless of their level of interest, will serve them well in any life, educational, or career path.

Completely agree. I have very little patience with teachers who treat their own subject as more important than other disciplines.


Seems to me that acknowledging and rewarding effort is a good and important step toward building good study/learning skills. I'm not so sure that giving 50% for zero effort is the right approach. I address that issue in my class by offering an optional, comprehensive exam at the end of the semester that can be used to replace the lowest 25% of their scores.

John,

thanks for the idea. I like it. Does it bother you, though, that solutions like yours (and many teachers find their own way toward fair grading) are ad hoc and individual rather than a feature of the system? And did you do the math to figure out that your system gives accurate results? (An honest question, not a critique).

I'd be interested in why you think the 50% might not be the best way to handle the issue. Can you give me any details about your objections?

Thanks!

Tom

McMike
09-30-2018, 10:25 PM
That's a big and quite likely--almost certainly--unwarranted assumption. I suspect that poverty is the leading cause of crime. Probably also the leading cause of bad parenting.

Tom

And how do you stop poverty? With education and a stable upbringing. Listen, the buck has to stop somewhere.

WI-Tom
10-01-2018, 01:01 AM
And how do you stop poverty? With education and a stable upbringing.

Maybe--also by adjusting the tax system to reduce income and wealth inequality.

But I agree that education and stability are major factors to address. Which is not at all the same as attempting to criminalize bad parenting as you were arguing earlier. Prisons not full enough for you already?

Tom

Ted Hoppe
10-01-2018, 08:46 AM
this whole topic is actually related to grade inflation and how kids of privoedge (with active to teacher nagging) helicopter parents who do better when it comes to school credit. One only needs to look at how can grades be based on a 4.0 system and identified students actually get bonuses above 4.0. The issue of credit for acedemics has serious flaws and was always based on privilege - credit for race, economics and likability have always been a factor.

i took note of how kids were graded at my sons public high school. Those kids who took honor classes route were treated differently and got the bonus with grade inflation scales. If a kid who did not chose the honors path turned in the same effort as the kid who did chose the honors class path, the kid with the honor path got the higher grade based on same effort. The educators consitantly proved it was more important that the honor student that was tracked in the honors curriculum to be helped by the system much more often and actively added grade inflation as it would look better for the student and school when the student applied for college acceptance.

Too Little Time
10-01-2018, 09:54 AM
And how do you stop poverty? With education and a stable upbringing. Listen, the buck has to stop somewhere.
I see a lot in what you say.

There are a large number of parents who want to help the poor get a better education. But there is a catch: they want their own kids to maintain their advantages over the poor and even move up a bit. I am all for punishing parents as are many of those who want to help the poor. Just a different set of parents.

rbgarr
10-01-2018, 10:16 AM
I agree with you 100%, that's how it should be . . . but it's not... I have a 20 year old who works under me who has been brought up think that his every thought is gold and valid and should be addressed; I almost fired him last week because he has something to say about everything, I don't have time for that... I had no choice but to tell him that I was his boss and under no obligation to listen to him or even entertain his incessant interruptions. When things are slower I take tons of time to explain everything to him but when there's sh17 to do, which is 90% of the time, I can't.

Ouch. It sounds like he doesn't know he's on the edge of being fired. That would cost you both. Will finding a suitable replacement be easy enough?