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I am leading a series of weekly study sessions on transforming the grading system for our district’s instructional leaders. We have been using readings and video clips from several experts. Yesterday was our fourth session. Based on previous discussions, the group appeared to have agreed that grades should reflect what students know and nothing else. However, after watching a You Tube video opposing assigning grades to homework, one administrator remarked that the expert was a “nut.” In the ensuing discussion it came out that the majority of the group believed (1) that homework promoted becoming responsible and was a necessary life preparation skill, (2) that if students put in the effort to do work, they should receive a grade for it, and they expected to receive one, and (3) that without a grade, they would not do the homework which was seen as a necessary part of practice. Can you suggest a method or questions I could use to create cognitive dissonance and get these folks to examine their engrained beliefs about grading and consider why they might need to abandon some of them?

2011-12-02
James Greene
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:

Sounds like you have a tough job James. I am a keen golfer so I will use golf to try to help
answer your question. First, I find my game deteriorates if all I do is play but I play better if
I practise between games. Second, my scores are not directly impacted by my practice, e.g.,
if I hit a wayward drive I can't say but I hit it straight on the driving range and if I have a 6
feet putt I can't just say I was sinking them on the practice green. Ask the people you are
working with to think about situations where practice counts to help performance but is
not part of the score or evaluation. Mostly that is what homework is.

 

 

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