Ajay Kamath

Summit, NJ, United States

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Ajay Kamath
Posted almost 4 years ago
Isn't it time to eliminate grades in education?
contd .. - Central idea #4:'Creativity is stifled by grades'. I kind of agree with this but only when it is put in context. This keeps coming up in different ways 'System only grades on learning whats already known' - show me one person who produced highly creative idea without knowing the basics - learn what is known first, where you take yourself from there is upto you. 'A student can be very creative with English essay writing but not so good at Math, why does he have to bother with Math' - thats exactly why after a certain age you get to drop what you dont like and prusue what you like, till then you are introduced to everything to figure out what you like. Definitely, there is a lot of scope for improvement in this area of the system. - Central idea #5: 'Narrative feedback will improve the system'. How exactly? If I look at 10 narrative feedbacks given by the same teacher to 10 different students, by analysing and cross referencing I can rank those 10 feedbacks. Its simply ranking in a different format. I wont get into how complex (almost impossible) it is to do this. Unless you think we dont need to rank anyone at all, now thats a seperate discussion. Also keep in mind when companies hire they dont compare GPA's in decimal digits, they simply set a minimum criteria, everyone about 3.0 can apply, then its upto how you showcase your talent in an interview. One may agrue that jugding poeple after 30 mins interview is also not an acceptable format.
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Ajay Kamath
Posted almost 4 years ago
Isn't it time to eliminate grades in education?
Mark, maybe we would agree on many things if we spoke. But I'll play devil's advocate here. Open ended proposals are great but not useful unless they can draw atleast a faint line towards on the ground implementation (probably this is very non-TEDish). Narrative feedback does not change the game at all. My 2 cents below (I am not teacher and not an expert at anything :)) - Central idea #1: 'Bad grades demotivate students'. Honestly speaking that really depends on how the teachers and parents explain to kids what a bad grade means. It means you need to work harder and not give up. Add narrative feedback to that and students will have clear direction to channelize thier efforts. The next test would be indicator of actual improvement. I dont see why, if improvement was made as per narrative feedback, the grade won't improve. I do beleive that an earlier bad grade should not stick with a student for life once he has made effort to change it. - Central idea #2: 'Grades dont indicate anything about learning'. This is true in specific cases but mostly false in a gerneral sense. Student with 'A' might not necessarily have more knowledge about a subject than one with 'B', but any experiment will show (I have no evidence to back this up, this is an educated guess) clear difference in understanding of subject matter between a student with 'A' and one with 'F'. - Central idea #3:'Thirst for learning (as an instinct) can be ignited or detroyed by any kind of grading system'. Current system or any other alternate system of evaluation will not affect this. Learning is a personal quest. No doubt that certain environments, people, stories or encounters ignite a thirst for learning in most of us. That is the only true motivation for pure learning and is independent of what grades you get OR how much money you are paid.