Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Voice of Experience

At lunch today an older gentleman, retired from retail sales and high school teaching, asked to weigh in on a conversation I and two of my colleagues were having about evaluating student writing. He told us that, in his experience, students don't know how to write in the real world. He told us if we wanted to remedy this problem, not to teach to standardized tests; rather, he implied we should make writing assignments authentic, true to life, and make sure they involve critical thinking and audience assessment (he may not have used these words, exactly, but you could tell he wanted to). On the subject of student assessment, he told us we should not curve grades, but rather that we should grade to an unwavering standard. Finally he told us that the buck for student performance stops with us. "When I taught high school," he said, "if my students did poorly, I always blamed myself."

I bet that man graded holistically.

1 comment:

P. Block said...

I bet this man had a number of students who hated him, but also had a smaller number of students who looked at him as the greatest teacher ever. It is a hard thing to accept when a teacher or professor pushes one to perform their best and there seem to be two types of responses, anger or acceptance. I have had a few professors that have pushed me to really do my best and I am not only a better student, but will be a better employee because of that. I think this school does a better job of this than some.