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Aceon6
08-09-2010, 09:42 PM
Very well (again, speaking of top tier schools here).

Not only are schools ranked, but often the individual teachers within schools.

Very true. My city public high school wasn't that well regarded overall, but our AP classes were, mostly because they were taught by PhDs. At one university admissions conference, I got "I see you received a B- in French Lit from Madame Dunne, very good." The only non-PhD was the math guy, and he was ABD.

Prancer
08-10-2010, 12:31 AM
But you are looking at this from the perspective of a teacher, who understands this. If we did away with letter grades, maybe parents would be less focused on As, Bs, Cs. Or not. GPAs on a local level do mean something, more than they should sometimes.

People might think GPAs mean something, but they really don't--not by themselves. And I don't think using numbers instead of letter would make any difference. Parents would still want their children to get grades in the highest percentage and do their best to get the schools to deliver.

I always gave letter grades until a couple of years ago, when I was advised that students would complain less if I used points. So I tried grading with points. I don't particularly like using points, however, so what I do is figure out what letter grade the student deserves and then give that student the maximum number of points I can within that range. The difference is meaningless; numbers, letters, whatever, they are still being assessed on the same basic bell curve they always have been. And while there is less complaining, it's not because the students find the points more meaningful; it's because fewer of them bother to figure out how that translates into the letter grades they will eventually get for the courses.


Even within a school grades don't necessarily mean the same thing. One teacher might take off for spelling, another might not. One teacher might give partial credit for a math problem that's solution is wrong, but shows proper protocol/method. Some teachers reward creativity, some want the student to stay within the strict confines of the assignment.

Exactly; that's why grades, in and of themselves, are meaningless and always need to be assessed in context.


Not only are schools ranked, but often the individual teachers within schools.

This is especially true for AP teachers. And with some cause. When I get students from local schools who tell me they were in AP English, I have a very good idea of what kind of work each student will produce before I ever see one word the student has written.

It doesn't work that way with non-AP teachers, but the AP teachers really put their stamps on their students.

rfisher
08-10-2010, 12:42 AM
Sorry. I'm bitchy, but I think it's about time something gets done to tighten up the "passing of students who should really fail, but we can't allow that to happen" stuff that gets done. With all the stories that come out about how some schools are not allowed to fail students, how some schools don't allow a valedictorian because it "hurts the feelings" of the other students, blah blah.....I was glad to hear about this a few weeks ago. Just a personal opinion that we go out of our way to wussify our kids and society in general an awful lot; this was refreshing in it's being the opposite.

(No, I'm not a parent)

Especially when they decide they want to be a nurse, rad or lab tech. I really want that student who got the D doing things to me that could kill me or cause serious pain.

cruisin
08-10-2010, 12:44 AM
Exactly; that's why grades, in and of themselves, are meaningless and always need to be assessed in context.

That just seems to be an overwhelmingly daunting undertaking. And one that would allow for much misinterpretation.

essence_of_soy
08-10-2010, 01:17 AM
Did anyone see the episode of Arrested Development where instead of getting grades, one of the kids goes to a progressive school and would receive an alligator stamp instead.

Prancer
08-10-2010, 09:54 AM
That just seems to be an overwhelmingly daunting undertaking. And one that would allow for much misinterpretation.

Well, it would be if all academic admissions offices needed to be familiar with every single teacher in every single school in the US. But that's not the way it works.

That is, however, why a nationalized curriculum would make a difference; if all kids at all levels of K-12 were required to learn the same subjects in the same ways at the same time while being assessed with the same assessment tools, then the meaning of grades would be more consistent across the board. Even then, you would still have some variations between teachers and schools--and there would still be private schools that had their own curriculums. But that's really the only thing I can see making much difference as far as university admissions and grades. If people want community-based schools--and apparently they do--then variations in curriculum, grading standards and assessment are inevitable.


Did anyone see the episode of Arrested Development where instead of getting grades, one of the kids goes to a progressive school and would receive an alligator stamp instead.

:lol: I had two professors in college who wrote things on papers like "WOW!" and "SUPERB!" and "Interesting!" This made me crazy. What did it meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeean? What was my real graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade?

I wasn't the only one who was lost, so the professors both offered to show us their gradebooks (with names covered and student numbers used--a pretty useless exercise when we all knew each other's last names, but never mind, I digress). I got all excited--at last I would know my actual grade!

And there in the gradebook, I saw "WOW!" and "SUPERB!" and "Interesting!" :lol: An alligator stamp would have fit right in.

cruisin
08-10-2010, 03:22 PM
Well, it would be if all academic admissions offices needed to be familiar with every single teacher in every single school in the US. But that's not the way it works.

Well, if it doesn't work like that, does it only work for the elite? If we are talking about GPA, testing, etc being based on the school/teacher ranking, how do we talk about it as a major guide, if it's only used in specific situations.

I am not sure about your policy on curriculum. Are you in favor of nationalizing it? If so would there have to be levels of proficiency? Would that potentially lead to going back to tracking?