Humans are more than Symbols

betty.grading

Usually on Black Friday I would have woken up at 6:30 to go shopping with some of my family members (really just the girls though); however, while in Virginia we are at least 20 minutes away from everything and no one really wanted to get anything or knew of where to go to get anything. Plus we were awake until 12:30 because one of my cousins successfully got the old Nintendo to work (this is like the original Nintendo and it took several people trying before it worked). Therefore, today consisted of playing it while the younger ones were awake which was amusing.

We did end up going to the mall later in the day, but it was really just for the sake of getting out of the house. It was nice though, and nothing too crazy happened. (But the craziness of Black Friday is the best part…)

Once back, I continued to work on math, and ate dinner. Then I sat down to blog, but before that, I did some reading from articles that people posted on Twitter. One particular article “Tracking Students’ Grades Minute-By-Minute: Help or Hindrance?”  stood out to me. The article talks about student information systems (like PowerSchool which my school uses) and how they can often encourage responsibility but they do not always encourage learning (especially, it is the idea behind all grades: do they really capture a students knowledge and understanding as well as ability to use the knowledge in situations?).

While reading, I shared a few quotes that stood out to me with some of my friends:

 “This comes at a time when research suggests that kids are more anxious about grades than their family or social lives.”

“Everything we hear about 21st century business, from business leaders, is that they want collaborators, communicators. And none of that comes through when the only thing schools focus on is metrics,” she said. Learning how to collaborate comes from working on group projects and absorbing cultural norms that promote cooperation and teamwork. “All this does is cultivate cynicism,” she said.

As I shared these quotes, and a few even read the article, we started talking about grades naturally. Even reading this article got us more paranoid about what our grades are and how we should be working more over this holiday. As I told them:

You know I hate grades because I don’t think they prove a whole lot when it comes to knowledge and understanding, but because of school I can’t help but be paranoid and “care” about them and that is really vexing.

Sure grades and knowing your grades can make students want to try harder to get better grades on assignments, but is that really what their priority should be; to get a higher number? I love numbers, but I don’t want to be classified as one because I know humans are more complex then just a symbol, and yet your grades practically determine the rest of your life the way schools explain it.

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