Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grading on a transient loop

A number of my friends are now neck-deep in marking examination scripts. It is hoped that they are not grading the kids a la Dick Solomon.



However, judging from the grumblings that I've heard, it is quite likely that they wish they could.

2 comments:

CremeBrulee said...

You're a teacher, and this is something that's bothered me about our education system (and actually most exam oriented systems): doesn't it sort of diverge from the actual learning of things and instead promotes straight up info regurgitation? The only 4 Rs I see here are "read, remember, regurgitate, remove". Parents start pressuring their kids leading to more stress and wasted time and money with the kid never learning to learn, teachers start compromising their integrity with leaked or simple questions because their classes' grade determines their performance, high scoring kids become competitive attention whores with their parade of As, while the less gifted get bored because they'll never catch up with those nerds.

As a teacher, do you ever get the sense that there might be some of your students who aren't given the chance simply because of bad grades, maybe?

As for "measuring a child's capability", I suppose exams are the easiest way to do it, but perhaps there could be better ways to determine who does or doesn't get to go to university, or whatever.

I don't know. I'm slightly high, so I'm not too coherent at the moment.

Snuze said...

Gentle correction: I am not a teacher, per se, though I've been in the education line since graduation. Currently, I teach co-curriculum on a part time basis at a private university.

... doesn't it sort of diverge from the actual learning of things and instead promotes straight up info regurgitation ...

Unfortunately, yes. Examinations in our current system aren't designed to assess true understanding; it is slightly better at tertiary level but not really. Which is why some of the best researchers I know aren't exactly good students; but they have the right attitude and creative ability to design experiments to answer the questions.

... do you ever get the sense that there might be some of your students who aren't given the chance simply because of bad grades, maybe?

Oh, absolutely. The education system only favour those in the middle of the bell curve; those at either end often lose out. When I taught A-level biology, I had a student who explained biological phenomenon using principles he learnt in physics. I rated his explanation as excellent; but I know that if he answered the exams in a similar manner, he would not do well.

As for "measuring a child's capability", I suppose exams are the easiest way to do it, but perhaps there could be better ways to determine who does or doesn't get to go to university, or whatever.

The education system is an unwieldy organism that finds irrational changes exciting but rational changes abhorrent. If you read about the arguments to retain PRM and UPSR, you will understand. We have a lot of schools, a lot of teachers. But we are not at the level where the students are taught to be constructive about what they learn. Hence, we are breeding generations after generations of photocopiers with short term memory because that *is* the product of the current system.

And then we wonder why we are not producing creative thinkers.