Sunday, May 15, 2011

Classroom grading is an attack on students

Along similar lines, Bob Bowden, who directed the fabulous documentary, The Cartel, about NJ's bloated and corrupt public education system, wrote this hilarious, tongue-in-cheek article, mocking the unions' resistance to teachers being evaluated, comparing it to students refusing to be graded:

It can hardly be denied that there are factors outside a student's control that might affect his grades. How smart he is, how much his parents support education, how nutritious the food in his home is, and how much his older brother distracts him with PlayStation II.

Some parents might put on SportsCenter at 11pm Eastern time. Others don't. It's hardly a level playing field.

Since a student has no control over these kinds of things, and since some students face a lot more of these obstacles than others, grading them simply isn't fair. Why should I get a better grade than you just because my home life makes it easier for me to perform? And as we've learned from teachers' unions, it's better to have no evaluation system than one that could be unfair.

There's another reason too. It's an ugly one: favoritism. We all know the teacher's pet is likely to get a good grade, while the charmless face a much tougher slog. That's not fair either.

It brings the inevitable conclusion: Until someone devises a grading system that can equalize all these disparate factors, and compensate for which students have advantages and which don't, the only fair course is to avoid grading completely.

This mirrors every other industry in American life. Fairness, after all, is acknowledged by educational leaders to be more important than accountability.


Classroom grading is an attack on students

Published: 10:47 AM 05/12/2011 | Updated: 11:33 AM 05/12/2011


By Bob Bowdon

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