The Kneighborhood Annex

professional blog of a teacher, future administrato, writer, learner, motivator, inspirerororor

Master of Your Domain

1 Comment

In a post written by Scott McLeod, he laments:

One of the students in my data-driven decision-making class (for discussion purposes, let’s call her ‘Jen’) posted this in our online discussion area:

Most grading at the high school level is more reflective of responsibility (just handing things in) and not on whether the student has truly mastered the content.

What do you think? Do you agree with Jen’s initial statement?

  1. What does ‘true mastery of content’ mean (or look like) for secondary students?
  2. Does high school grading really get at the idea of student responsibility?
  3. If yes to #2, is ‘handing things in’ a good measure of student responsibility?
  4. Does student regurgitation of low-level factual recall items on quizzes and tests constitute ‘handing things in’ or ‘mastery?’

Most grading at the high school level is more reflective of responsibility (just handing things in) and not on whether the student has truly mastered the content.There are a lot of issues embedded in this short sentence. For example…

I’d like to take that further and say…How about Middle School students?  So much of what our teachers assign is graded based on effort. (I’m guilty of it too!!)  I feel, the ‘true mastery of content’ comes at the end of a semester or the end of a school year when a midterm or final are given.

Take little Johnny for example:

Johnny doesn’t do any classwork.  He doesn’t turn in homework.  He doesn’t participate in class.  He’s rude, obnoxious, and disrespectful.  You have referred him to guidance, but they’re no help.  You’ve contacted his parents, but you find some of the same behavior coming out of them.  But, on test days Johnny gets A’s on his tests.  He doesn’t do anything all year, but get A’s on his test.

As a teacher…is this frustrating or rewarding?  Has he mastered the content?

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Author: GraKneeToe

I'm a regular guy with a regular job. I write for fun, self-reflection and to possibly impart some of my thoughts on those that will listen. I do not claim to be an expert on anything, but have opinions on many things.

One thought on “Master of Your Domain

  1. My oldest brother was like this. Sarcastic. Smart. Never carried a book anywhere (and usually Mom & Dad had to pay for them each year since even thoough they were issued, he didnt bother taking them from the class.). Graduated with honors. Began freshman in a local school as required by the parents. Then quit after freshman year. Did not go back until 3 years later when kid sister 3 siblings down the line (me) began. I actually graduated before him in college too. LOL. He graduated a year later and is now a very successfull programmer for a big computer company.

    He did not like nor play the game called “school” very well-but well enough to get good grades. He probably could have been valedictorian, but he was not into that. He didnt try to get good grades–he just did.

    Perhaps Johnny is like my brother, and needs a totally different approach to learning. He’ll learn–just not in the same way most others do. Like my bother, maybe Jen and Johnny have recognized they learn in a different way form other kids, and it satisfies them, so they do not change. The attend compulsary school b/c Mom & Dad say so, as does the law. But that doesn’t mean they have to enjoy it or conform.

    I’ve had MANY kids over the years just like these two-and my brother. You gotta work harder to teach them than any other kid in the building, even the lowest of the low.

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