Monday, 26 January 2015

Does it Count?

“Does this count?”
This is a powerful statement statement when we are thinking about the importance of removing grades or marks from the ‘evaluation’ process. The idea of, “does this count’ indicates that at this point the student is valuing the grade over the learning.  I have seen it many times over, the motivation becomes I need to get an A overrides the original intention of the assignment or learning.  Nothing makes that more clear than when the student gets the assignment back they look at the Grade and immediately move on. If you were to ask the student a few days later, “What did you learn from that assignment?” The answer quite often, “Umm, I don’t know.”

“Does this count?”

When the intention of assignments is learning, then everything counts and it counts for authentic reasons. Students become engaged in the learning. The process and the journey are what’s important because that is the learning. The final product is the way to communicate what the student has learned but it is not the goal or the end point. The communication of the thinking becomes the launch pad for what comes next. When we remove the number or the value, it takes away that extrinsic reward or punishment and allows students and teachers the freedom to focus on the learning. After all, we are in the business of learning. Learning should not be the bi-product on the way to an A, it’s the learning that is the goal.

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