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View Diary: Teachers' Lounge: What is an "A"? (62 comments)

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  •  I once interviewed with a principal (2+ / 0-)
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    annetteboardman, ER Doc

    to whom I asked this very question. She replied, "93 percent." Even when I tried to clarify that I was asking what kind of work should earn an A, what the definition of top-quality work should be, she simply reiterated her answer, "93 percent." I unilaterally terminated the interview at that point and left. I had no desire to work for such a small-minded person.

    In my grading philosophy, an A means you exceeded expectations on most measures. Actually, I don't even like letter grades; I prefer minus, equal and plus marks (fell short of expectations, met expectations, exceeded expectations), with a separate mark for every criterion being graded. Thus, on a writing assignment, a student in a regular class might get a B, but a student in my class might get pluses in ideas, voice and word choice and equals in organization, sentence flow and mechanics. (I consider a plus to be equivalent to an A, equal to be equivalent to a C and minus to be equivalent to an F. There is no B or D in my system, except as an average of other scores. If you surpass expectations, you get full plus credit.)

    I think this system is both simpler and more honest than conventional letter grades, but the pushback I got from parents and administrators was ferocious and dispiriting. Yet another reason I'm kind of glad I washed out of teaching.

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 05:42:51 AM PDT

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