2+2 != Maths

August 17, 2011

Just what is my job after all?

Filed under: teaching — Numbat @ 20:12
Tags: ,

I presented Standards Based Grading to my colleagues in the Maths department yesterday.  I was pleasantly surprised by the reception as I was expecting a very cold one but found quite a few of them nodding their heads in agreement at stages.

I was also surprised by the questions being asked.  Thoughtful questions which indicated that they’d accepted the premise and were asking about implementation.  That probably surprised me the most.

However, I was still struck by some of the firmly held beliefs of many of my colleagues.

In particular, I made a statement that I was no longer concerned by what a student had DONE, but rather I was very interested in what a student KNEW.  This differentiation appeared to be lost on most of the staff.  Having come from a background where the “yard of work” was the main focus of the entire department and the measuring stick we drummed into our students, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised.

In times past our “curriculum” consisted of a detailed list of questions that the students were required to complete. I suppose the theory was that if the students completed all that work then they must have learned something, right?  Unfortunately the answer was more than often, WRONG!

As I have explored implementing SBG I have come to realise that what a student DOES is perhaps irrelevant.  It’s what a student learns or knows that is relevant.  So now I need to unlearn all those skills I’ve developed that allow me to make a student DO something, and learn a whole new set of skills that will allow me to make a student LEARN something.



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