Education

The War on Grades Deserves to Fail

As the postmodern takeover of American education nears completion, the practice of assessing student performance with letter grades is under attack. Education disrupters claim grades and GPAs create an unfair academic hierarchy and put undue pressure on high-achieving students, leaving the rest mired in low self-esteem.

Combine these objections with the political insistence that all students graduate “college ready” and armed with “21st-century skills,” and a revolution in assessment is well under way.

Many elementary-school teachers years ago abandoned letter grades in reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead they write progress reports that assess, on a scale of 1-3 (or 1-4), the student’s proficiency in various skills. The reports typically indicate whether the student has achieved competency, is “progressing” toward competency, or has not made progress.

This type of “standards-based grading” (as it is called) represents more than a change in nomenclature. Whereas letter grades (or numeric percentages) measure the work a student has completed, the new system is concerned primarily with what the student will be able to do by year’s end. Teachers expect most students to be “progressing” toward the standard on their first report and then to have “met” the standard on their last.

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Straight Talk for College Women

The Wall Street Journal | September 11, 2017 Dear female members of the class of 2021: Now that you’ve set up your rooms and purchased your course materials, it’s time for some straight talk about sexual assault. If you follow the news, you’ve probably heard that 1 in...

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College Sex Meets the Star Chamber

Wall Street Journal | October 23, 2016 In June Mr. Montague sued Yale in federal court in Connecticut, claiming the procedures used to convict and expel him were biased, unfair and caused damage to his reputation. Last month Yale answered Mr. Montague’s lawsuit firmly...

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To Bring Back U.S. History, Repeal Common Core

New Boston Post | April 18, 2016 Today, Massachusetts celebrates Patriots’ Day. In towns across the commonwealth, crowds will gather for parades of marching bands, scout troops and public officials. In Lexington and Concord, Redcoats and Minutemen will reenact the...

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“Some people would rather give every child a trophy than let poor performers feel bad about themselves. But anyone who wants to limit the influence of money, connections and bias on students’ post-high school prospects should fight like hell to keep grades.”

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