Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MAC Week Two: Comment #1 to Cynthia's Blog Post

On her blog, Affecting Eternity, Cindi wrote about her reaction to giving students an "Easy A" before the assignment is graded:
"I contemplated for a long time on what is meant by “The Easy A”.  At first reading, I thought that it doesn’t make sense to just pretend that all students are the same and they all get an A.  Pretending that my students will all rise to the challenge and do things they can’t do.  

After sleeping on it and being back in school with my 8th graders after thinking about it, I read that section again.  Maybe what he meant is that giving out The Easy A brings out what is unique in students, rather than how they fall when “standardizing” kids against each other.   Grades (and of course the high-stakes testing I just administered) are all about how my students measure up against all other 8th graders in Ohio.  Grades and OAA scores do not take into consideration the environment and unique talents of my kids. The Easy A however, allows students to face their own unique challenges and tell why and how they deserve their A.  This would give a teacher richer information:  not how they stack up against others, but how they stack up against their own hopes and dreams.  This concept aligns with the Social and Emotional Learning program my school has instituted, and I can see how it can have great benefits.  However, my district says I have to assign grade cards and administer OAAs.  To find how The Easy A can be used in my classroom is a challenge I will have to think more about."

I know exactly what you mean, Cindi! I have to give grades with categories and weights decided on by my district. I have to give district assessments and prepare my kids for a state test.  I'm really not sure how the idea of giving A's to students fits in with those district policies.  I do have some flexibility on the more creative projects though, you might think about giving A's there and seeing how your students respond when they can express their ideas anyway they want to express them!

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