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Chase Fox

Student, St. Vrain Valley School District

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Instead of testing student's comprehension on material, teachers use the standard grading system to justify a student's future.

I tend to think that grade books are only used for the sole purpose of determining a student's future. I consider myself to be an educated student, with a 4.2 GPA. However, I still disagree with the grading scales commonly used by teachers in the US.

First off, students usually spend most of their time at school socializing about the latest gossip or post on Facebook. Social networks have forced a barrier around our learning capabilities. An average student might go home after school with a few friends. When nine o' clock hits, the student either forgets about the homework or decided not to work on it. The next day, 2 minutes before class starts, the student might ask another student to copy the homework given the previous day. During class, both student receive the same grade, while only one student may interpret the lesson of the homework.

Secondly, students take school for granted. The importance of school is not derived by teachers talking, but derived from the students listening and comprehending the material. Students don't take school as a learning opportunity, which usually tends to be free.

Lastly, grades can't depict one's education. I could have easily completed the homework given, but, as the test is being taken, I might not remember a section of what I learned, or a certain name or phrase I read. Failing to correctly answer a few problems on an assessment may drop my class grade, which overall, affects my GPA.

What college is going to accept a student who has bad understanding of the molar ratios of different elements and compounds? How is learning this material going to help me in my future, when I know I'm not going to be a chemist? I could easily decide not to answer the questions that appear on my test, but how does that signify what I've learned? A simple dot on a piece of paper can determine one's future. A student's education should be approached in a more individualized manor, preparing students for their future, and not for their present.

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  • Mar 25 2013: I believe everything you say about the students of today. We have gone from Baby Boomer generation learning Latin and Greek [Philosophy] to Gen X with just English to Gen Next having remedial English in college. Gen Text is OMG, WTF, W/E.
    I just don't fault them. They have not set the standards, only met them. They are not failing a system, the system is failing them. Overindebted before puberty (national debt) and undereducated before adulthood. Your future is exactly how you see it. Perception is Reality. A whole generation with cuts to education when increases are necessary. "Investment in Education pays the best Dividend"-Dr. Franklin. Perception, Logic, Wisdom, Theory/Abstract are the "Chain of Conscious". When you are awake you are conscious. When you are conscious you are thinking. You cannot doubt thinking. You are conscious therefor you are. "Information is not Knowledge {logic}"-Einstein."Knowledge isn't even close to Wisdom"-Me. I use the analogy because I equate info/facts to perception, and of course knowledge to logic. I would say our youth is educated more at the perception level and barely on the logic level. The wisdom level would, more or less, be teaching Philosophy and/or Physics. At the university level, we would advance to the Theory level. In this Abstract level it is no longer the subject, but the method. Not the topic, but the process. I learned this not at school, for the system failed me, 25 years ago, but the way I see it, THEY got no diploma from ME. I fell through the cracks, but today it seems to be a canyon for many students. I was "wise" enough to erase that education (except math) and realize the intrinsic value of Self Directed Learning (SDL) which allows me to seek many teachers for the same subject and to be able to understand most anything that I am interested in. Our youth are being babysit by technology, instead of valuable education through it. Their apathy towards Education must be replaced with a Sense of Urgency. Gen U
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    Mar 24 2013: The reason for grades is to see where you fall behind someone's idea of being educated is so an alarm might ring and something be done about it. (Oh by the way, is it all right if the doctor taking your appendix out is normally quite good but today has forgotten something important?)

    The reason for all-round basic education is so that YOU may have the maximum number of opportunities.

    Being able to remember is an important life-skill. Being able to understand new subjects is an important life-skill. So switch off the TV and get on with chemistry, music, how to research, how to reason and Pre-Raphaelite poetry.
  • Mar 24 2013: I taught school in rural one room classes with each of 12 grades up to 32 students. I had no assistants. Nevertheless, any time a student who had at least a year of tutelege transferred to another school he was advanced at least one year beyond his typical placement for his age. The exception was any graduate from high school.

    My educational philosophy differed from the norm in that grades I gave on assignments and tests did not reflect on the student, but rather deficiences in my performance as a teacher. I used those results to direct my interactions and assignments with each student in ways to make them fully proficient in areas where they showed weakness.

    Furthertmore, I placed extreme importance in the development of thinking and expressional skills. Every Friday half of the day was spent with each student from grade one up giving an oral report on a subject chosen from a list that was appropriate for their grade level. Report subjects required both research and reasoning to make a successful speech.

    Every Thursday we took a half day field trip, generally to explore and understand nature in the area surrounding the school. One thursday each month the field trip was a full day to more distant locations such as (when I taught in Sedona) trips to meteor crater, dinosaur caverns, the grand canyon, the petrified forest, and museums or galleries in the Phoenix area. Generally the oral report the following week would be related to that day long excursion.

    By the end of the year I made certain that each student had very good mastery of all required material as well as a cultural grasp of additional subjects. Any music training other than theory and appreciation came from sources outside the school.

    My experience suggests that a classroom of as many as 32 students can be fully handled by the teacher alone if that teacher holds himself responsible for the success of each student. I also insisted on cooperation from all parents.
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    Mar 11 2013: Chase,
    Have you thought about what gossip is? Do you know what NLP is? Have you ever used gossip in a good way?
  • Mar 11 2013: I am afraid it's a complete system.
    You will encounter others that are more unfair in your future.
    All the best Godspeed.
  • Mar 11 2013: I agree with you that schooling should be more individualized, but many areas lack the manpower and funds to create such a system.

    It can definitely become frustrating as you go through more and more schooling to have subjects you consistently struggle with (I completely understand). However, the very same subjects you struggle with may be ones others excel at. And the subjects you excel at may be ones that the same other person struggles with. But, it is essential that students are exposed to all these subjects so they can find what they are and aren't interested in/good at. It's the only way to address the potential interests of the masses, since it is hard to create super individualized education. Additionally, it is good to have background on numerous topics (even if you might not like them), as a lot of stuff does end up being interconnected.

    Although it can be annoying to go through schooling & struggle and not do as well in some classes, just remember that ultimately, it's not your GPA that predicts your ability to succeed in life. If you are motivated and hardworking when it comes to what you want to do career wise, a slight dip in grades in certain subjects will be trivial when it comes to your future.
  • Mar 10 2013: I think if you reread what you asked of us, you will see that the student(s) are at fault & not the books, teachers, or grading system.
    There are not enough teachers in a class room to give individualized planned out lessons. The raw basics are taught on various subjects to prepare each student for the outside world and up to each student to specialize, once they get to college or university.
    If you wish to maintain your GPA level, you will take the tests given & do your best.
    In the greater outside world of employment, they do things that are proven to work for that company, but usually are open to change if the quality of a product is improved & brings in more monies.
    That single dot does not determine your future- you do!
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      Mar 10 2013: That is a great point! But don't you think I should be taught in the area revolving around accounting and business? I see Chemistry and History a waste of time for me. Yes, I'm learning a great amount of information from these subjects, but how will molar ratios ever help me as an accountant? That's what bugs me.
      • Mar 10 2013: I have no idea what molar ratios are but I will say this: All subjects are connected in one form or another.
        And to have a broader spectrum om your learning scale, so you can chat with others on various subjects, it's nice to know a bit about other subjects.
        When you stop learning, you stop living.
        If you went to work for a chemistry company, to do their books, it sure would be nice to at least have some knowledge of what & why they were doing what they do.
        Just a thought!
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          Mar 10 2013: In chemistry, a mole stands for the amount of substance. This unit is widely used in all stoichiometry calculations of chemical reactions. The molar ratio indicates relative number of molecules involved in a chemical reaction. For example, oxygen and hydrogen react to form water according to the equation: O2 + 2H2 = 2H2O. In this case, one molecule of oxygen produces 2 molecules of water. Use coefficients in the chemical reaction to calculate the molar ratio.

          Read more: How to Calculate Molar Ratio | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_8149226_calculate-molar-ratio.html#ixzz2NA7w8AD3
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      Mar 10 2013: Re: There are not enough teachers in a class room to give individualized planned out lessons.
      Teachers could give more individualized attention to students if they were willing to reframe the classroom model. but potentially there is a room full of teachers in the classroom if we employ a peer to peer model.
      Let's not be so quick to blame students, they didn't invent the system