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Can you please explain how an over-achieving student who "masters" all levels would be so inclined to do "more" or "better" in a specific class or task? For instance, when I received a 98%, I searched for a way to get 100% Do you feel the standards based system is better directed towards those who do not do well under the conventional percentage scoring? For some reason, I seem to recall those in my high school who constantly scored in the 95% or better all did well on AP tests and continued on to be very successful in college. I personally believe a standards based approach wasn't what would have motivated us because we had already exceeded the standards for our age in high school--that's why we were in AP classes. Have collgeges in the US gone to this paradigm? Has there been any retro-conversion to see where these students who get the 95% and above would fall in the stadards based paradigm? Thank you for your time.

2010-11-15
Nika Johnson
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:

Can you please explain how an over-achieving student who "masters" all levels would be
so inclined to do "more" or "better" in a specific class or task?
Personal satisfaction, i.e., intrinsic motivation. Why do multi-millionaire professional tennis
players and golfers keep practicing and keep trying to win tournaments, especially the
majors - not for the money, but for the personal satisfaction of being the best they can be.


Do you feel the standards based system is better directed towards those who do not do
well under the conventional percentage scoring?
No, it is better for all because it provides for real standards, not the meaningless standards
provided by a system with 101 levels. There is no real or meaningful difference between
98% and 100% but there is a difference between levels 4 and 5 in AP and between levels 6
and 7 in IB (International Baccalaureate) and most students taking AP and IB strive for the
highest level.

Have colleges in the US gone to this paradigm?
Almost all colleges and high schools use a level system because the grades that are most
commonly reported are A, B, C, D and F - five levels. But those levels have commonly been
based on percentages which encourage an 'accumulate points' orientation instead of a
learning orientation. We should eliminate the percentage scales and just use the levels.

Has there been any retro-conversion to see where these students who get the 95% and
above would fall in the stadards based paradigm?
I don't fully understand this question but, if I am getting it at all, I would say yes because
the students who previously got 95% probably get the highest level, as do the students
who got 100%.

 

Nika Johnson's
Comment

2010-11-22

Thank you for your response and information. We will definitely need to see how this will
work in our schools over time. I am very concerned how children will transition as they
work with a system of percentages later in life, or even in high school (they are not using
this system currently). As for intrinsic motivation, while pro althetes do have intrinsic
motivation, they, after all, do get paid for what they do and they don't turn down the
money. I am also pretty sure Tiger Woods is competing against other players. Additionally,
golf involves scoring, which idnetifies who succeeds ultimately and wins the tournament
even if this is by one shot. It will be interesting to see where competition in the classroom
will exist if someone with a 93% gets the same "meets" score as someone who gets several
points lower on the scale. We can't negate the benefit of competition, even in the
classroom.


The Grade Doctor's
Comment

2010-11-30

You raise legitimate concerns but there are few, if any, situations later in life where students will work with percentages. You are right that golfers are competing, and that there are scores but my point was that the prime motivation of the top professional golfers and tennis players is not the money but the pride and personal satisfaction that results from playing the best they can (- and winning!). Also there are real differences between scores in golf but the difference between 93% and 95% as a score or gpa is meaningless. I do not suggest that we try to eliminate extrinsic motivation, but we should try to minimize it and maximize intrinsic motivation.

 

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