Thursday, January 16, 2014

An assortment of thoughts on the American Education System

The American education system at large is majorly flawed currently. I say this being a student with a 4.0 GPA, so, make of that, and any associated biases as you will. 
I see two major ways to fix this system. They are as follows:

·         Grades need to be de-emphasized

People are using grades as a de-facto measurement of intelligence, be it students or teachers. They may not consciously be doing this, but even so they are using that system. This can cause discouragement and feelings of inadequacy for the student that aren’t deserved, because they are unwarranted. Grades are a measure of focus and effort, not intelligence. Grades measure whether you put time into school or not, not whether you are intelligent or not. There are many students who have poor grades, but know all the content. They aren’t dumb, they just don’t put in effort for a variety of reasons dependent on the student.

Grading needs to change.

1)      Start each student’s grade at a 0, not a 100.

a.       Students come into school with a perfect grade in every class, and this just doesn’t work in terms of student morale. From a 100, there is literally only one direction you can go, and that is down.

2)      Remove B’s and D’s.

a.       They aren’t relevant, and just cause unnecessary stress concerning grade levels. If you remove them and only have F’s, C’s, and A’s, then you still have the exact same system as before, under a different name, and yet it will feel much better to the student.
     ·        For the most part de-emphasize assessments through testing, remove the focus on the regurgitating of facts, and throw the concept of correct meaning having the same answer as everyone else right out the window. You do this by shifting courses to a project base.

a.       The current implementation of school does a very awful job of preparing its students for real modern jobs.

b.      Some students are uncomfortable with tests, and simply do not test well. This is a better way to assess not just facts and knowledge about a subject, but the important skill of being able to apply your knowledge, in addition to less emphasized assessments.

This solution kills a flock of birds with one stone.

·         It removes the problem of schools not preparing you for real jobs by putting the onus of the academic curriculum on open form team based projects.

·         It solves the problem of the focus on only one correct answer, which is outright toxic to the future of innovation.

·         It allows for more student creativity.

·         It solves, for the most part, the issue of test anxiety

·         It solves the issue of the “school game” being the way to an A. (The school game is where students can just do their homework, show up, but not actually learn, and still get an A)

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