I have been thinking about creativity.  A few years ago I moderated a panel of experts on the topic of creativity at a Digital Education Leadership Conference.  It really changed my views on creativity and made me realize just how important creativity is.  Recently, two separate “creativity” moments prompted this blog.

“Today’s schools lack creative teaching and learning, study says” is the July 2nd, 2013 headline in eSchool News of an article by Managing Editor Laura Devaney.  She writes about a 2013 study by Adobe of 4000 parents and educators (K-college) in the US, the UK, Australia and Germany (note the possible bias, but the facts do speak for themselves).

She writes, “A new survey reveals that creative teaching and innovative learning are stifled by an over-reliance on testing and assessment, forcing teachers to stay inside a restrictive curriculum that will limit students’ ability to excel in the future workforce…

“‘[T]ransformative change’ is needed to inject a creative boost into the current education system, and that despite a worldwide demand for creativity and creative thinking, today’s students are not prepared to enter a workplace that requires inventive thinking.”

I get it.  The demand for creativity and creative problem-solving is increasing, but we aren’t preparing our students to be creative.  Parents and educators agree that one of the reasons is too much testing and assessment.  Another reason is that not all teachers know how to teach creativity or have the resources to do so.  The article tell us that “[A] majority of U.K. (17 percent), German (17 percent), and Australian (15 percent) educators said that their current education curriculum is the greatest barrier to teaching creativity in schools.”  Yikes!

I read the article and then I read the study; the article does the study justice.  The study is easy to read, with lots of graphics to make the point.   Check it out.

A few weeks ago I attended finalsite University and the keynote speaker was Erik Wahl, author of Unthink.  (finalsite is our website company, and each year I go to their annual university.  This year I gave a presentation – Emerging Trends in Proficiency-Based Education.)

Erik has a great website with some great videos that I think you will like.

In an excerpt from his new book Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius, he writes “We secretly believe that creative genius is reserved for the chosen few – for the poets, the painters, the writers.  The truth is that breakthrough creativity is in all of us.“   Wow!  Could he be right?

I haven’t read the whole book yet, but In Chapter Two of Unthink, he says, “Ask a roomful of five-year-olds how many are artists and every hand will shoot up.  Ask a roomful of thirty-five-year-olds the same question and you get one reluctant hand.”   I saw him get the same result when he asked us that question.  Later he asks, “Do you remember when your days were governed by your imagination?  You could be whoever and whatever you wanted.  You could travel around the world–even beyond the world–at the drop of a thought.”

Creativity is important, vital, the stuff of life.  Think about creativity, and think about how education can be used to stifle creativity or enhance and nourish creativity.

Posted by marks on Monday July 29, 2013 at 08:55AM

The subject of diet always stirs up arguments.  But despite the fact there are streams of infomercials and new best-selling diet-fad books, science is advancing in this area.  I wanted to share two items, because they relate to education, to science and to ethics and integrity.

I recently watched “The Skinny on Obesity,” a 7-part series from UCTV Prime.  It featured Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Dr. Robert Lustig, at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who argues that sugar is a toxin that’s fueling the global obesity epidemic.  It provided the science teacher in me with information I found very useful and clear, and a lot to think about.

Then I watched a TED video about the search for a cure for diabetes and its precursor metabolic resistance.  Dr. Peter Attia is now dedicating his life to this research topic.  Please watch or listen to his talk.  He closed with a fantastic and moving note about intellectual and scientific integrity because earlier in his life he found himself blaming patients for being obese, while his new research is now taking him in another direction.   (I added the bold.) :

“I don’t know how this journey is going to end, but this much seems clear to me, at least:  We can’t keep blaming our overweight and diabetic patients like I did. Most of them actually want to do the right thing, but they have to know what that is, and it’s got to work. I dream of a day when our patients can shed their excess pounds and cure themselves of insulin resistance, because as medical professionals, we’ve shed our excess mental baggage and cured ourselves of new idea resistance sufficiently to go back to our original ideals: open minds, the courage to throw out yesterday’s ideas when they don’t appear to be working, and the understanding that scientific truth isn’t final, but constantly evolving. Staying true to that path will be better for our patients and better for science.  If obesity is nothing more than a proxy for metabolic illness, what good does it do us to punish those with the proxy?”

I think this is a vital message and a compelling story about ethics and integrity in the field of science (and life).  The educator in me hopes all of us can instill this level of integrity in our students.

Posted by Mr. Mark Siegel on Thursday July 25, 2013

I hear and read many high school commencement speeches.  I think the speaker’s goal is to share some eternal truth, wisdom, and insight with students who are now formally starting their lives as adults.  

I recently came across two items that together make the shortest commencement speech that was never delivered, but that has a message I wish all graduates could hear.

In his 1994 interview for the PBS documentary “One Last Thing”, Steve Jobs says:

“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

“That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

“The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

“I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

In her Invitation From the Head on our website, Delphian Headmistress Rosemary Didear writes:

“At the core of our philosophy is the desire to put students in control of their educations and their lives, and to help them realize that both are theirs to create.”

A message worth repeating when you think about education or talk about education. Pass it on!

Posted by Mr. Mark Siegel on Monday July 15, 2013

For its 40th Anniversary, Smithsonian Magazine just published “40 Things You Need to Know About the Next Forty Years”

If you think about education you have to think about the future.  How can we best educate our students to prepare them for the future?  No one in my high school class of 1967 could have had a career goal of being an iPad repair technician, working for a cell phone company, or fixing electric cars.  I’m sure you can think of a long list of careers and businesses that didn’t exist when you went to school (they probably weren’t even on the radar).

Whenever I think or talk about the future I watch Arthur C. Clark’s short 1964 interview about predicting the future.  Boy did he get it right.  Simply amazing!  I won’t spoil it for you, and I know you will enjoy hearing what he had to say in 1964.  Really.  Click on the link!

What does the Smithsonian think we will see in the next 40 years?  There are many interesting tidbits.  “Sophisticated Buildings Will Be Made of Mud.”  (Did you know that cement production alone accounts for an estimated 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide?

Another one is “A Medical Lab Will Fit On A Postage Stamp” about a chip “designed to diagnose a variety of ailments with nearly the precision of a modern clinical laboratory.” You have to read the article to find out how it works.

But item 40, the last on the list, got me thinking about education.  In an article by Kevin Kelly entitled “Reading in a Whole New Way” (the list said “Reading Will Become an Athletic Activity”), he points out the differences between reading a book and reading from a screen.  After noting that “American prosperity and liberty grew out of a culture of reading and writing,” he says, “reading and writing, like all technologies, are dynamic.”

The whole new way of reading is that “[s]creens engage our bodies. Touch screens respond to the ceaseless caress of our fingers. Sensors in game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii track our hands and arms. We interact with what we see. Soon enough, screens will follow our eyes to perceive where we gaze. A screen will know what we are paying attention to and for how long… Just as it seemed weird five centuries ago to see someone read silently, in the future it will seem weird to read without moving your body.”

I commend the entire article to you, but I found this point very interesting to contemplate:

“Books were good at developing a contemplative mind. Screens encourage more utilitarian thinking. A new idea or unfamiliar fact will provoke a reflex to do something: to research the term, to query your screen “friends” for their opinions, to find alternative views, to create a bookmark, to interact with or tweet the thing rather than simply contemplate it. Book reading strengthened our analytical skills, encouraging us to pursue an observation all the way down to the footnote. Screen reading encourages rapid pattern-making, associating this idea with another, equipping us to deal with the thousands of new thoughts expressed every day. The screen rewards, and nurtures, thinking in real time. We review a movie while we watch it, we come up with an obscure fact in the middle of an argument, we read the owner’s manual of a gadget we spy in a store before we purchase it rather than after we get home and discover that it can’t do what we need it to do.”

Another provocative gem (not sure if I agree): “Screens provoke action instead of persuasion. Propaganda is less effective in a world of screens, because while misinformation travels fast, corrections do, too. On a screen it is often easier to correct a falsehood than to tell one in the first place; Wikipedia works so well because it removes an error in a single click. In books we find a revealed truth; on the screen we assemble our own truth from pieces.”

And last, “A screen can reveal the inner nature of things. Waving the camera eye of a smartphone over the bar code of a manufactured product reveals its price, origins and even relevant comments by other owners. It is as if the screen displays the object’s intangible essence.”

In the future, he says, “portable screens will be used to view more of this inner world…[i]n the next 40 years semi­transparent eyeglasses will apply an informational layer to reality. If you pick up an object while peering through these spectacles, the object’s (or place’s) essential information will appear in overlay text. In this way screens will enable us to ‘read’ everything, not just text….Screens will be the first place we’ll look for answers, for friends, for news, for meaning, for our sense of who we are and who we can be.”

Read the article!  But…you’ll be reading it on a screen….  Hmmm…  You are reading this on a screen…..  Hmmm.  Something to think about when we are thinking about education!

Posted by marks on Wednesday July 10, 2013 at 04:08PM

  1. Students want online learning because it makes learning more personal, gives them control over their learning, and allows them to go at their own pace!

The Center for Digital Education posted a short article “Why Education Leaders Can’t Ignore Online Classes”.  Of interest was the point about online learning, based on the 2013 “Trends in Online Learning Report”.

“Forty-three percent of parents with school-aged children have taken online classes.”  Parents who do online classes, “increasingly want an online learning experience for their students, said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. That’s why 48 percent of them want more online classes at their high schools.”

“[S]tudents have wanted an online learning experience because it makes learning more personal, Evans said. More than half of students surveyed said that online classes would give them control over their learning and allow them to go at their own pace.”

  1. Good Reasons to Extend the School Day and School Year

The New York Times Sunday Review had readers react to a proposal for a longer school year and day.  The Annenberg Institute for School Reform posted a commentary “Expanded Learning Time As a Strategy for Closing the Opportunity Gap Inside and Outside of School”.

The author noted that there was one reason to extend the school day and school year – “equity for students in low-income communities of color, who are so deplorably under-served by our present public education system.”

This is not a topic I’d thought about, and the author makes some very good points. “Affluent and middle-class families use their own resources to fill their children’s afternoons, summers, and vacations with private academic tutoring, music and art lessons, science camp, and sports activities. Parents know – and research proves – that these activities aren’t ‘extra.’ They are essential to round out their children’s education and prepare them for college and successful careers. But many parents can’t afford these extra classes and care – and they are often the same parents who work longer hours, including those crucial after school and school vacation hours. Also, due to the built-in inequities of America’s public school system, children from these lower-income families are more likely to attend schools that have less-qualified teachers, fewer textbooks, more-limited science, arts, and sports, and unsafe schools and neighborhoods. So, while summer actually leads to learning gains for affluent and middle-class children attending programs that provide rich learning experiences, summer results in learning loss for the children in families without the extra means.”

That’s what I call Thinking About Education

  1. News from ISTE (The International Society for Technology in Education)

[Background: ISTE is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in advancing excellence in learning and teaching through the innovative and effective uses of technology in PreK–12 and teacher education.  Their annual conference is the premier ed tech event.]  

At the ISTE Annual Conference in San Antonio in June, the closing keynote speech was delivered by Adam Bellow (sporting his new Google Glass),  “You’re Invited to Change the World” (Adam’s talk starts 21 minutes 30 seconds into the video).  It will give you a flavor of a new world of educators using technology to do a better job of educating and change the world we touch and affect every day.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole speech, Lisa Nielsen’s “The Innovative Educator” listed some of his main points and said that “Adam reminds us that despite other distractions, we can and do have that power within us and invites us to go forward and embrace that goal.”  One of her favorite important points from Adam’s talk is “[p]ointing out the hypocrisy in so many schools banning social media tools like Facebook for students, yet they have a school Facebook page.”

More importantly to me, she liked it when Adam said, “[s]upporting all students with an individualized education plan (IEP) or what I call a personal success plan (PSP) that focuses on personalization, rather than standardization.”

I love individualized education plans.  

Posted by marks on Monday July 8, 2013 at 05:33PM

I don’t just think about education because among other things, I am an economics and business teacher.  I teach. I was reading the Preface of Common Sense Economics (Revised and Updated) by Gwartney, Stroup, et al.  As an educator I had to stop and re-read this passage from the book:

“The massive government intervention leading up to, and following, the economic crisis of 2008 has generated an increasingly urgent need for basic economic education.  Our democracy puts voters in charge of choosing our policy makers, so the consequences of economic illiteracy can be disastrous.  People who do not understand the sources of economic prosperity are susceptible to schemes that undermine both their own prosperity and that of their country.  A nation of economic illiterates is unlikely to remain prosperous for very long.”

There are various forms of illiteracy and innumeracy, but I have to agree with the authors that a “nation of economic illiterates is unlikely to remain prosperous for very long.”  

I’ve been using the Handy Dandy Guide to Economics for years, which contains six main principles that help explain economics, economic forces, and economic decision-making.  (There are many versions on the Internet, here’s one simple one.)

The authors of Common Sense Economics have developed ‘Twelve Key Elements of Economics” and “Seven Major Sources of Economic Progress”, and both are quite good.  They also developed “Twelve Key Elements of Practical Personal Finance”, and I thought I’d share the last point on that list with you:

“12. Teach your children how to earn money and spend it wisely.”

They write:  

“General well-being and financial success tend to go together, and the connection is not accidental.  Those who develop the habits of working diligently, setting goals and achieving them, and avoid the temptations of instant gratification by considering the future consequences of current choices are typically more successful in all walks of life than those who don’t.”

OK, I get it.

  1. Economic literacy is important because a “nation of economic illiterates is unlikely to remain prosperous for very long.”   
  2. We should “teach our children how to earn money and spend it wisely,” for their “general well-being and financial success.”  

Two more reason why I teach my business seminars and why I think about education!

Posted by marks on Friday July 5, 2013 at 03:14PM

Tomorrow we celebrate the Fourth of July.  On July 4, 1776, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which begins with this important words:


“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are   endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

These words are important!  Very important!  We celebrate our freedom and remind ourselves of our heritage every July 4.


Another important date was June 1, 1925.  As I wrote in an earlier blog (February 4, 2010), in the Pierce case the US Supreme Court overturned an Oregon law that would have required all Oregon students to attend public school and punish parents by fine and imprisonment for each day they violated this law.  This law would have put all Oregon private schools out of business forever.  In overturning this law, the Supreme Court said:


“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations“


That case has been referred to in many other Supreme Court and lower court decisions as a case standing for the supremacy of parental rights over the general power of the state.  That decision prevents the state from forcing children to attend public school against the wishes of their parents, and allows more than 10% of the students in America to attend private schools!


As you celebrate the Fourth of July and the fireworks go off, do remember our Founding Fathers and the freedoms we enjoy because of their work.   And take a moment to remember the great work of the Supreme Court in the Pierce case that gives parents the right to send their children to the schools of their choice, including private schools. 

In 1983, American President Ronald Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education issued its report A Nation at Risk.  Secretary of Education T. H. Bell created the National Commission “directing it to examine the quality of education in the United States and to make a report to the Nation and to him”.  Everyone agrees that this report made history in American education, raised awareness of weaknesses in the American education system, and started many reforms from the local to national level.

We should all (re)read the report.  With bolding added by me it began:

“Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry,

science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the

world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the

problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We

report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our

schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United

States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are

presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a

Nation and a people. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur–

others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments.


“If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre

educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of

war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even

squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik

challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped

make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking,

unilateral educational disarmament.


“Our society and its educational institutions seem to have lost sight of the basic purposes of schooling, and of the high expectations and disciplined effort needed to attain them.

“This report, the result of 18 months of study, seeks to generate reform of our

educational system in fundamental ways and to renew the Nation’s commitment to

schools and colleges of high quality throughout the length and breadth of our land.”

Thirty years later, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute prepared a video compilation A Nation at Risk: Thirty Years Later, that recalls “the impact of A Nation at Risk these past three decades and to reflect on what lies ahead.”

I commend it to you.  When the report was issued 30 years ago, it was big news and it is still big news.  It bears re-reading.  As the Fordham Institute says, “Suddenly, Americans woke up to learn that SAT scores were plummeting and children were learning a lot less than before. This report became a turning point in modern U.S. education history and marked the beginning of a new focus on excellence, achievement, and results…. Due in large part to this report, we now judge a school by whether its students are learning rather than how much money is going into it, what its programs look like, or its earnest intentions. Education reform today is serious about standards, quality, assessment, accountability and benchmarking—by school, district, state and nation. This is new since 1983 and it’s very important.”

I am sorry to say that our nation is still at risk.  In my blogs, I’ve also shared the good news about the shifts from old factory-model schools to new proficiency-based schools.  Reading (or re-reading) this report just makes it clear we still have a lot of work to do to address the factors that put us at risk.
Posted by marks on Monday July 1, 2013 at 10:44AM

A 10-day Business Seminar Field Trip and an Ed Week article got me worked up on the subject of ethics – again!  I started this blog, set is aside for a while to see if I was just a bit too worked up, but when I reviewed it today, I just had to post it.

In March I took 32 Delphian high school students on a 10-day field trip to Chicago and New York where we met with many top executives in a wide range of companies.  Because ethics and integrity are two of the four words on our school’s logo, I asked each of them if ethics and integrity played a role in their personal success and in the operation of the businesses they lead.  Each and everyone launched into a talk about how vital these topics were, and the importance of integrity and ethical behavior in all aspects of the world of business.  I could go on and on, but we heard many examples from each speaker, and we learned of how integrity and ethical behavior is woven into the cultures of the business we visited.  

Lance Armstrong and Teaching Students the Meaning of Integrity is the title of an Ed Week commentary that gave me a new perspective on the topic, and I commend it to you.  One point I took away is is that young people today are confused about the facts when it comes to stories about unethical behavior, and they aren’t getting a clear message about the consequences of unethical behavior.

In discussing Lance Armstrong, the author thinks (as I do) that students are confused.  Armstrong admitted he masterminded “a massive cheating system over a number of years, in which he lied and even sued those who accused him of cheating. Yet kids still don’t know if he has told the whole truth.”  

The author argues that, “[t]he Lance Armstrong affair symbolizes a sophisticated trend toward achievement that accepts immorality…Similar to the Armstrong affair, kids see their baseball heroes accused of illegal doping, with those who did and didn’t still murky. They see colleges, such as Penn State, choosing to protect reputation above all else”.

This is terrible.  I agree when the author points out that we know that some people on Wall Street, driven by greed, “helped create a recession, but those responsible haven’t yet been held accountable. Polls clearly show lost confidence in politicians, yet the actions of Congress reveal that political party and personal agendas drive government, not the deeper interests of the American people.”

I think that if we don’t set up models of ethical behavior, or stories of integrity in action, students won’t get it.  People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.  Where facts are ambiguous or (appear) unclear, it is difficult to determine if behavior was ethical.  This is bad – very bad.  

The author thinks that “[t]he Lance Armstrong affair symbolizes a sophisticated trend toward achievement that accepts immorality…This disturbing trend is undermining the spirit of America. We need to explore its roots so we can begin to weed it out of our society…As a teacher for 61 years, I have seen a steady erosion of the development of character in our schools and homes as we frantically seek a test-proven academic proficiency.”

I share the author’s concern that we have not noticed that the “powerful impact of our neglect of American character development over the past six decades. We assume such problems as drug abuse, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, “cutting,” and school shootings simply reflect a complex new age.”

Not true.  Walter Cronkite used to ask parents to talk to their kids about drugs, asking if they don’t, who will?  I ask you, If parents and teachers don’t talk to students about ethics and integrity, who will?  Imagine the frustration when adults hold up models who later fail us?  You can write your own list of  “stars” (athletes, actors/​​actresses, singers, musicians, etc.) who have either fallen from grace, or already model unethical behavior.  This is bad – very bad!

The author thinks this topic raises concern about the related topics of cheating and bullying, and he raises some very interesting points.  He cites the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics studies over the years to support his point that a majority of students cheat.  This is bad. Very very bad.  

Thinking about education means thinking about whether the author is right when he says “We have become an achievement society, with cheating, lying, and bullying an integral part of American life. Armstrong was a great achiever, and we want to forgive. Outrage at cheating, lying, and bullying may not trump achievement in our society.”

I think outrage is a start, but the plan of action must include teaching our children about ethics and integrity, and imbedding those concepts into the program, and making it part of the fabric and culture of the school itself.  That’s what we do at Delphian, and it can and must be done everywhere.  Meanwhile, we must remain outraged whenever we see cheating and lying, and remain committed to making earth a better place to live, each of us in our own way.  I’m tring my best to do it as an educator and by thinking about education!

Posted by marks on Wednesday June 26, 2013 at 09:29AM

I just read a great commentary in Education Week by Ryan McLane (the principal at Utica Junior High School in Utica, Ohio) that I want everyone to read.  I couldn’t have said it better myself, except I would go farther and get rid of grades totally and completely.  Really.  I would get rid of them.  Stay tuned!

Please read his entire commentary (it is short).  I should mention that academic letter grades using a bell curve are going to go away as one of the stupidest inventions ever.  They never worked and that never made ANY sense.

It will take awhile to get rid of them, just as we’ve seen other social changes.  But hey, if the Berlin Wall can come down, we can get rid of grades!  I attended an Ed Week webinar on the topic that was highly attended and very good.  When the recorded version gets posted, I’ll let you know the link.  There are so many good thinkers who have done all the heavy lifting, but now we have to enlighten others.  I hope it doesn’t take as long to get rid of letter grades (and age-based grade levels) as it took to get people to realize the earth is round or that the sun is the center of the solar system.

Meanwhile, here are a few salient quotes to get you interested in reading the full commentary:

“Realistically, I have no idea what Johnny’s B means. To fix that problem, I suggest we make sure Johnny’s grade reflects what he knows and is not influenced by factors such as discipline or responsibility. Those should be separated.”  By the way, that is the law in Oregon!  More on that in a later blog.

McLane writes “I firmly believe the problems of the American education system … are the result of years of poor grading practices.”

He doesn’t stop there, and I love what he says. “I believe it is our responsibility to make sure all students are learning the content and skills that are required of them. I am a big believer in reteaching and reassessing. It is more important that the child learns the material than when the child learns the material…. However, simply putting that grade in the grade book and moving on is the exact reason why public schools are in the position they are in today.”

Please re-read that paragraph again.  Please.

He is right  when he says that  “[t]his process begins early in a child’s education when a child never learns the necessary skills, and then continues to fall further and further behind. It would be my hope that a struggling student receives additional instruction and is reassessed and that his or her grade is updated to reflect the new knowledge gained.”

He reports that some educators respond with some pretty severe nuttiness!  “When I share this view with other educators, the No. 1 response I get is that it is not fair to the kids who got it the first time to allow kids to be reassessed….Really? I missed the part in education school where they taught us that a grade’s primary purpose was to compare and rank students. It was my understanding that a grade is a tool that tells us about an individual’s level of mastery. If that is the case, then it is unfair if we do not reassess that individual.”

You will have to read the article to find out the second-nuttiest thing some educators say on this point.

I disagree about ever giving a grade, but we need to start turning this ship around now.   McLane is right when he says “we need to make grades more meaningful and more reflective of what students have mastered, not how compliant they have been… I am not a proponent of just passing them along. I am a proponent of fixing the problem.”  Then I say we just get rid of them entirely!

Read the article and start spreading the word.  I will post of more information on the subject of getting rid of the letter-grading system.  Letter grades make no sense, but until we get rid of them they should reflect mastery, not speed.

Posted by marks on Thursday June 6, 2013 at 07:55PM