Thursday, October 8, 2009

Your Course Grade

Check out this e-Campus article "Instructor to Outsource Grading to Students." Let me know what you think? Should we implement this system? Is it a reasonable way to assess learning?


Amy said...

I definitely agree with the idea that students tend to complete their work in ways so the teacher is happy and pleased. Since I have been a student for almost 20 years, I have found this to be the case about 98% of the time. Throughout my college career, teachers all around have either liked my work or didn't. I found this to be so confusing. For example: I minored in English and every paper that I wrote, was graded differently depending on the teacher. It was really hard to grasp an understanding of the material this way. You were so conscious on what the teachers would say that you were constantly distracted.

Davidson encourages the students to take charge of their assignments and rather than handing them in to be graded, you become responsible for what you complete. I feel as though a lot of stress would be relieved from students if this type of grading system were to take place. It's true, competition does come into play and it does create problems.

If we as teachers use this system, students would be more confident and more apt to learn the material rather than be graded. I have had classes where the content doesn't count as much as the participation. Though you feel like it is easy and the teacher doesn't look at your papers, etc. I leave those classes learning the most. I enjoy those classes.

Education is important for everyone to learn, why not make it enjoyable?

I also want to mention that using Davidson's new grading system, would take away from the political/economical aspect of education. For example: the better your grades are the better your funding and the better your grades, the more honorable societies you are part of, etc. This makes me wonder what would happen to that whole ordeal if we got away from grading...?

Gina said...

I can envision this approach at higher education institutions, not really at the secondary level although we could experiment with mature classes. I like the collaborative feel of this type of grading since in almost all jobs, one is a member of a team with many peers all striving for the same or similar goals. However, at the end of the day, most jobs have bosses who "grade" you - regardless of what they call it. Peers do not evaluate you(although there are definitely corporations who employ 360 feedback). So while I can see merits of this process and am open to using this process in various situations, I would not like to totally do away with the grading system as we know it since it does teach a valuable lesson about tailoring your work to fit your boss.

Meggan said...

I agree with Gina in the sense that in the real world, your work is usually reviewed by someone in authority; however, I do think it is an invaluable lesson to learn how to critique another person's work and be able to critique your own. I have noticed a huge difference in my classroom ever since I received an ELMO (camera that projects anything put underneath it). Now student work is thrown under there all the time (I teach English) for the entire class to critique. My students are now much more aware of what they write before they put it under "ELMO". They put more care in their work when they know it's being reviewed by their peers as opposed to just me. I think it'e because (now I teach adolescents) that they don't want to be outcasted from the group, so they want to make sure they're doing just as well as everyone else. I think this is also extremely important in an English classroom because students need to understand the writing process, and that it takes multiple drafts and revisions before a paper is "perfect". Students tend to rely too much on the teacher instead of themselves or their peers when it comes to this. While I think this is a great step in the right direction, I am hesitant about completely doing away with teacher grades beacuse again, in the real world, if you turn something in to your boss and he/she doesn't like it you might get turned down, fired, or not get that promotion. We still want to prepare our kids for the real world.

Lori said...

While I agree with Meggan's points, I also think it is important for students to learn how to critique someone's work. While a boss does normally have the final say on a project, there are many opportunities for group input to make the project better which require group collaboration. Many students do not have the opportunities in high school to hone this skill and this type of grading would be great. I also like the point of students learning how what they put on paper and thought out fairly well so as to not hurt someone's feelings or to not get teased in school. This last point is one reason I am not in full support of this grading system in secondary school systems and below. Students can be brutal and teacher monitoring of comments would be crucial. In my classes, I could see using this a few times during the year but not exclusively.

Kate said...

I agree with many past statements made. I agree with Amy in that grading can be extremely subjective and give students confusion based on what exactly is expected of them. However, I do agree with Gina and Meggan as well in that your boss is going to critique you and that is the way it will always be, whether we move as a society to this grading system or not. Colleagues do not grade you based on your work, so doing away with our present grading system could be a bit drastic considering people will have to be essentially "graded" by their bosses. I agree with Lori in that students could be extremely mean to one another and having students "grade" one another could lead to serious social problems. What if two students grading each other are arch enemies? I think that if this system was to be set in place, it could only be done at the college level. I may suggest that it would be more beneficial to compromise. Meaning peers could grade you and then your teacher could grade you. The teacher grade could be 75% of your final grade and your peer grade could be 25% of your final grade. I think it is important not to overlook the fact that when students receive a grade that was not up to their standards, it is their responsibility to find out what they did wrong so they can change it for next time. The way to do this is to meet with the teacher, or review the teacher feedback written on the assignmnent. A peer is not going to have the insight to be able to critique in the way that a teacher will be able to. Part of the teacher's job is to critique so that students learn. This aspect of the learning process would possibly be compromised if this system were put in place.

Melissa said...

I was very interested to read this article. I too agree with Davidson that students need to take charge of their assignments. Students will learn more when they are teaching. As an elementary teacher I find grading to be very difficult. I try to have my students not compare what each other get but it is a fact that every time a test or report is handed back all students are, “what did you get?”. It drives me crazy. Use Davidson approach this kind competition is out.
I just finished taking Action Research I wanted to include my students in the process of my research. I had groups of students’ grade written responses. There were no names on the paper. I wanted students to see the difference in a good answer and a bad answer. I thought that if they see what consist of a complete response they would be more aware of what they needed to do to get a good grade. It worked out great! I can now see why Davidson liked this idea so much. If I can do it in my fourth grade then anyone can try it.

Bill C said...

This article reminds me of one of our blackboard discussions. Involving the students in the planning, implementing and assessment of any learning process is what creates the student centered learning that we as teachers should be striving for. As students view others completed task they expand their breadth and depth of content knowledge simply by assessing the work done. Right or wrong it requires the student to think at a higher level about the content.

Makia said...

The approach done by this professor can not work well with studets in the healthcare and medical field. How will one know if a student is prepared to perform open heart surgey or any medical procedure at that. It can be helpful to gain insight and feedback from peers but can also be harmful if you're not getting the correct information. This is a great way to involve students in the faciltiating part of their course and a way for them to learn as well.

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