Monday, November 20, 2006

Lok Ma. I git and "A": Grade Inflation in High Schools

Maybe We do need to have an English/Grammar Nazi in every High School across America.

Grade Inflation for High School Students

Why are High School Students making better grades? Here is a list of reasons:
1. High School teachers aren't educated enough to know the fine distinctions between an "A" Paper and a "B" paper. That is, the teachers did not learn what they needed to learn while in college. When I was in High School, I remember losing an entire letter grade for having a typo, misspelled word, or even a comma error. When I taught in the top scoring public school in Louisiana, the administration and my mentor teacher thought my grading system (which was the same system I was graded by in High School) was too tough.

2. No uniform grading systems in high school English classes. Grades are more easily fudged if there is no standard by which to grade. That is, if I like a student who is struggling in my class and he or she happens to be a good kid, then I could fudge a little on the grade and no one will know -- except God.

3. Many teachers are no longer giving tests in the usual way. I remember being told not to give the standard pen and paper test to my students. Instead, it was suggested to me that I find more creative and entertaining means to check assessment: like have my students make posters and do class presentations. I didn't mind having my students give presentations, but you can't deny the fact that when a person has learned something by heart (or memorization) they are less likely to forget a particular grammar or punctuation rule and misuse said rule. I found that the only student that would learn from the presentations were the ones giving the presentation.

4. I was told not to teach grammar because it was too basic and rudimentary; in other words, it was boring. I couldn't teach literature because every good story or book was considered offensive by some family or organization. I felt like an overly paid and overly educated babysitter. Why the Bad Grammar Read this article for why grammar is taught in few schools.

5. Interpreting literature was to be emphasized because that is what the High School Administration and English department thought was important for college preparation. Yet, when I interviewed several college English professors about what they wanted incoming students to know and do, it was a 100% consensus in that they all wanted their students to be able to express an idea in writing -- something which was taught on a very limited basis in my school.

6. Students (who could afford tutors) were getting their tutors to do their homework for them. If I gave my students an in class writing assignment the work I received was atrocious: over half could not punctuate properly -- I mean they couldn't use a period or capital letters properly. Forget a complete thought, that was right out. But if I gave them an writing assignment to be completed over a period of a couple days, I received papers that looked beautiful: like they were done not by Freshmen in High School but by Seniors in College.

7. Teachers don't want to be the bad guy (or girl). It is easier to give a student a "D" who deserves an "F".

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...