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Opening Arguments

Ahead of the curve

Another Indiana school system is considering a move from traditional letter grades to a "standards-based" reporting system that would break each subject into much smaller pieces, providing much more information on how the student is doing in various areas:

For example, in place of a math grade a student would assessed on individual areas of math such as computation and analysis. Affective variables, such as effort, would not be used. A student would only be evaluated on what he or she knows and how he or she demonstrates it.

Am I the only one who thinks this is another education fad labeled as "progress" by professional academics too eager to try anything new? The new system would be enormously time-consuming for teachers and provide more information than most parents probably know what to do with.

Good, old-fashioned letter grades have always done the job and continue to do so because they have become part of our common language. Everyone knows what is meant by an "A effort" or a "C student." The grades don't give much specifics, but they tell you how a student did in relation to everyone else in class.

Grab the first 100 kids you see, stick them in a room and give them a test, and they'll sort out just like the last 100 and the next 100. It's called the bell curve, and it will keep its hold on us no matter how obsessed with egalitarianism we become.

Posted in: Hoosier lore


LP Mike Sylvester
Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:49pm

I went to public schools here in Fort Wayne.

I believe that there are a lot of things we can do to improve our public schools. I think we need to completely kick the Federal government out of education. In fact, I agree with Ronald Reagon and I feel that The Federal Department of Education should be dissolved.

I think that all of the responsibility needs to be returned to the School Boards.

If a School Board wants to try something new, they should go for it. If the voters in their district do not like it, they will get voted out of office...

Democracy can work...