Consider the following scenario. In an effort to make learning, not grades, the emphasis in his classroom, a teacher is proposing that next year he will give every kid an “A” in his class, no matter what, essentially taking grades off the table. Write a letter to this teacher evaluating and judging his proposal. In addition, indicate how you would personally respond to this approach if you were a student in his class next year.
This is this week’s prompt for our essay of the week in 219. My kids think this is just another writing prompt. And it is. But there’s more at work here. I am gathering information. I want to gather some preliminary data in the form of student feedback as I move forward, as I move to make real that which is proposed. Next year–well, the next two years–all kids will get an “A.”
I know. I can hear the protestations already. But I have thought deeply about this decision and will strive to make the case for my decision in the next several posts as I continue to work through the details of my attempt to transform teaching and learning in my locus of control, my tiny star in the universe: 219. In earnest, I hope you all will pose questions and raise concerns to help me solidify my plan before I venture out into uncharted, perhaps hostile territory. I think I have anticipated all objections and have formulated answers, but there may well be some things that I have not considered, so fire away. I will not take personally any objections or criticisms; I invite them. I have to. This is not a whim. This is a risk. I am hanging my professional hat on this. I will take a lot of flak for this, but I am ready. My convictions are secured in my strength to see it through.
Anticipated Objection #1: You can’t do this.
Reasoned Response #1: Actually, I can.
I looked into both state and local policies on grading, and I discovered that my approach will settle securely within both sets of guidelines. My initial thinking was to give each kid a “P” for a pass, a pass provides credit but neither hurts nor helps a student’s GPA. My main concern as I move forward is to do no harm to my kids as I experiment and learn over the next two years, so just to be sure that I had made a solid student-centered decision, I ran it by our head counselor at the high school to get her thoughts. Our discussion led me to understand that a “P” could be problematic for kids on their transcripts, affecting college and scholarship opportunities, so I decided that I would go with the “A” instead.
So, technically, I can give all students “A’s.” But the bigger question then becomes, “Should I?” I’ll hash it out for you over the next several days, sharing my reasons for taking this step, my reasons for putting an end to the grade game in 219.
Please, if you are so inclined, join the conversation. I want your help.
Happy Thursday, all. Home today. Daughter ended up with pneumonia, too. Been a dinger of a spring.
- Knocking the Sloth on His Ass: Morning Minutes, April 13, 2016
- Path of Possibility: Morning Minutes, April 15, 2016