Wednesday, September 11, 2013

School Shouldn't Suck - Support #SBAR

You learned to read. To write. To speak. To stick up for yourself. But, when you entered high school you had to start waking up at 6:30 five days a week. Going to school after relentless studying, cramming, and assignments from the night before. Having to take standardized tests to prove that you are competent of basic skills.

Where did the learning end up at in this evolving school scene? Where did you end up?

Standards Based Grading is a compilation of “I can…” statements that give students a guide to the expectations of their teachers and their courses. Standards Based Grading should be incorporated throughout all of our education system because students know what they have learned, successful motivation does not come from a grade, and students are prepared for a life full of learning outside of their primary educational institute.

Students know where they stand on what they have learned and what’s ahead of them to learn. Each standard is a different skill that should be understood and, at a point in time, be able to be demonstrated. Students knowing the skills they are being taught by doing work in critical thinking problems, reading, and writing to get rid of the “I don’t do anything in that class” phrase students often use. Oh, and the infamous dinner question when your parents ask “What’d you learn today” and you reply “Nothing…” Standards Based Grading allows you to know exactly what you know, accurately, not just based off of one test score.

Along with enabling students to see their own learning, Standards Based Grading allows for more learning to occur. A teacher giving a student a zero on an assignment is not going to motivate that student to try harder. It’s going to show them that a number matters more than their learning does. It won’t make them try to re-do and relearn the content, it will make them give up. If the teacher doesn’t believe in the student, why should the student believe in themselves? It is not the numbers that matter but the people and ideas that associate them. Therefore, grades being used as an ineffective motivator would be eliminated in a Standards Based environment.

Chiefly, Standards Based Grading is the most opportune system in preparing students for life. A student will very rarely ever be given a grade with an A, B, C, D, F in the working world. They will be given a task, points, or standards, to cover in a project, presentation, or paper. Upon completion, they won’t be given a score. They will get all kinds of feedback: constructive, negative, positive all based upon whether it met the original outlined standards. The performance of that employee is not only clear to the teacher, but the employee and other supervisors.

Because Standards Based Grading enables students to know their position in what they have learned, motivation does not exist in letter grades, and it prepares students for a life enriched with constant learning it should be implemented throughout our entire education system. It is based on people, not in numbers. Don’t become a letter or a number. We are not a world of synonymous robots performing laborious tasks in uniform. Standards Based Grading is the future of our nation and workforce. The numbers don’t matter; it’s you that matters.