Jill Dinitz-Sklar

public health professional, local government
Trenton, NJ, United States

About Jill

Areas of Expertise

epidemiology , public health

Comments & conversations

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Jill Dinitz-Sklar
Posted over 3 years ago
Isn't it time to eliminate grades in education?
I'm hoping that I understand your question, but ultimately I think the "fear of fair" and the "learning to learn" may come more from how a teacher/educator presents learning to the students than the pressure that a grading system places on them. I think that was alluded to in the previous comment. When I teach I try and convey to my students that it isn't the grade they should be stressed about, but what it represents. The original article said that if you give a student an F they learn nothing, if they get an A they also learn nothing, this again is flawed. I think as a teacher it is my job to make sure they do learn from that F or from that A. I start my class by saying that there are no stupid questions, but the ones that are never asked. I try and make sure that lines of communication are open. If a student of mine gets an F my mind goes to many different options as to why. I try and make sure that they can feel free to talk to me about it. I also try very hard to impart on my students a desire to question, they are always free to discuss their grade as I hope they would feel free to question almost anything presented to them. I think that comes to your last point where learning to learn is something that may unfortunately happen post-formal education. I try and tell my students that while I am their teacher, I will always first be a student. I never purport to know everything and neither should they. Learning comes in different forms, however your mastery of what you have learned has to be quantified, I need to know where I stand in my knowledge base so that I can feel comfortable using that information to make later decisions. Much like you say it influences economy and so forth. For that reason I feel that if a teacher can take the scariness out of learning, an F isn't a shameful thing its an opportunity to understand.
Noface
Jill Dinitz-Sklar
Posted over 3 years ago
Isn't it time to eliminate grades in education?
I have to say that as a teacher (I work as an adjunct professor part time) I think grades are incredibly important to the way students think about the consequences of how hard they choose to work, or possibly how easily something comes to them, and where they stand in general in a class. Now, I don't mean to say that I think the current system is perfect but I think the elimination of grades on the whole is an oversimplified solution to the problem. I agree with the point about meaningful feedback. Ultimately there needs to be the immediate feedback (a ranking system one may say as opposed to a grading system) coupled with a meaningful dialogue about how one can improve their rank (or grade as the case may be). I think a major issue that I see in my students is that we as a society have decided to make it too easy for them to fail. By saying that grades are unnecessary I think that we are in turn saying that they are meaningless and that if a student doesn't do well it isn't because of a problem/issue the student has it is because the system is flawed. I think that is a dangerous thought process. In a perfect world, yes having meaningful discourse about how one can improve their efforts towards doing better in a class or school in general would be wonderful; however in that you are assuming that most students want to do better and that is not always true. For that reason I think grades have to stay as a baseline assessment tool and then if you can parse out those that would benefit from a non-traditional feedback mechanism that is where there is room for change.