5.21.16 Weekend Update
ARTICLES ON ASSESSMENT AND GRADING
"There's Nothing Wrong With Grade Inflation," from the Washington Post. "It’s time to give up the fight against grade inflation. I have taught at Stanford, Wellesley, New York University, Boston College and Yale, and I used to be a grade-inflation warrior. I liked to think of myself as a rigorist; liked having a range of grades at my disposal; and I liked the joy my students found when they actually earned a grade they’d been reaching for. But whereas I once thought we needed to contain grades, I now see that we may as well let them float skyward. If grade inflation is bad, fighting it is worse. Our goal should be ending the centrality of grades altogether. For years, I feared that a world of only A’s would mean the end of meaningful grades; today, I’m certain of it. But what’s so bad about that?"
"Same Grades, Better Performance" from the Atlantic. "It’s raining As in America’s higher education system, and not necessarily because students are particularly smart. In fact, many of them probably don’t deserve the high marks they’re getting. They have grade inflation to thank. That inflation is rapidly spreading to higher education institutions across the country. Despite stagnant academic performance, more students than ever before receive higher grades than they should. The trend is raising ethical questions and marks a 180-flip from a few decades ago, when the opposite problem—grade deflation—plagued many colleges. "
"Assessment and the Learning Brain: What the Research Tells Us," from the Independent School Magazine, co-authored by Glenn Whitman from St. Andrew's Episcopal School who came and worked with us two years ago. "If you really want to see how innovative a school is, inquire about its thinking and practices regarding assessment. For the students, does the mere thought of assessment trigger stress? Do the teachers rely heavily on high-stakes, multiple-choice, Bell Curve-generating tests? Or do the students seem relaxed and engaged as teachers experiment with new forms of assessment designed to support deep and lasting learning?"
"Assessing What We Value," also from the Independent School Magazine. "In the June 2010 Harvard Business Review, Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, wrote a column entitled 'You Are What You Measure.' In it, he thoughtfully prods business leaders to consider the problematic correlation between the tools for measuring progress and actual organizational progress. 'Human beings,' writes Ariely, 'will adjust behavior based on the metrics they're held against. What you measure is what you'll get.' In short, assessments drive outcomes, but these outcomes may not be optimal in either the short or long run."
"Is Testing Creating a Toxic Culture in Schools?" from the Huffington Post. "Albert Einstein purportedly said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Sometimes I wonder if the standardized testing we do in many of our schools today does just that: judges fish on their climbing ability. Many assessments evaluate unnecessary academic skills that have no basis in determining if a child is ready to move on to the next level of learning."
AND WHILE WE TRY TO REMAIN APOLITICAL, THIS WAS TOO GOOD TO PASS UP...
FROM THE DEPARTMENT HEADS, RE: END OF TERM PRACTICES FOR NEXT YEAR
This past week the department heads discussed the end of the term plans, considered earlier in department meetings. The general consensus is that the department heads are not really sure of what is meant by "reflection/wrap up" days, and that the faculty needs some education on how to best use those days before we build them into the calendar for next year. After discussion, the department heads decided to keep the same end of the term schedule for the fall and winter (two assessment blocks/day) but to add a common Math
assessment block on the final Wednesday of the term. This will have an
impact on missed classes, etc. but hopefully it is a good compromise. Anyone with questions should contact Alisa, or one of the department heads.
Clarification around final grades/ transcripts from the registrar's
At the end of the year, everyone will be asked to enter both spring term
AND final grades for all courses. There will not be any option to enter
exam grades on Millville. All grades for final assessments should be
included in spring term grades. If you have questions, please talk with
your department head.
Revised end of the year final assessment period:
Tuesday, May 31
8:00 – 9:00 End of the year Chapel Awards Ceremony
9:05-9:55 C Block
10:00-10:50 A Block
10:55-11:20 Hum Flex
11:25-12:15 F Block
1:15-2:35 B Block
2:40-3:30 Department Meetings
Wednesday, June 1 (as published in the calendar)
Final grades due for Sixth Formers
Thursday, June 2 (Note: Only Arts, Humanities and Language Classes can give/ collect final assessments during these blocks; Math and Science classes may meet at the teachers’ discretion for review/ extra help.)
A Block 8:45-10:15
B Block 10:45-12:15
C Block 1:30-3:00
Friday, June 3 (Note: Only Arts, Humanities and Language Classes can give/ collect final assessments during these blocks; Math and Science classes may meet at the teachers’ discretion for review/ extra help.)
D Block 8:45-10:15
E Block 10:45-12:15
F Block 1:30-3:00
Monday, June 6
9:45 - Science exams
Tuesday, June 7
9:45 - Math exams
Friday, June 10
Final grades due for Third, Fourth and Fifth Formers