In California, they’re trying to rid America of its obliterative bias.
A way to get out of college is not to give grades.
As seen in a March 16th memo posted online, the president of the state’s public university system asked the Academic and Student Affairs Committee to consider a big change.
In some cases, the old ways have been alright — particularly grading on a curve — but ultimate equity trumps all:
University of California has been exploring new methods of teaching, assessment and grading. This is to enhance learning outcomes and academic integrity. Although traditional methods of grading, like averaging grades over assignments and grading according to a curve have their place, they may not be the best for all cases. However, these practices can still prove useful in some instances. UC campuses have a number of programs to reexamine assessment, grading and other practices. Some of these are described in this article.
The president references “learning outcomes,” but if I understand correctly, at issue is reward rather than retention — grades, after all, reflect the latter.
In previous presentations, the University of California described its ongoing efforts to innovate and assess instructional methods in support of learning outcomes. In evaluating assessment methods and grading methods, the University follows the same process to enhance learning outcomes, academic integrity and promote educational equity.
Regarding an educational revamp, California’s been on the move.
The public secondary education system ceased using standardized tests in admissions evaluation on March 1. An official line asserted such tests didn’t predict how students would perform on regular assignments and tests once in college.
CSU acting President Steve Relyea
“[W]e are eliminating our reliance on the high-stress, high-stakes test that has shown negligible benefit and providing our applicants with greater opportunities to demonstrate their drive, talents and potential for college success.”
This was my pose at the time:
If someone has “drive, talents and potential for college success,” they’d presumably do well on (standardized) tests.
However, it appears that this might soon become a problem. It is also possible that the system won’t require students to have good grades.
And to be sure, the West Coast isn’t alone in its exploration:
Professor Rejects the Harm of Writing Rules and Whacks White Supremacy with Gonging Grades
University Professor Goes the Route of ‘Ungrading’ — in Math
Excellence is waiting: Professes make their case for ending grades
Primary education’s taking part as well:
Virginia School District targets Inequity with Shooting at Grades & Deadlines
Oregon’s Education Dept. Takes a Stand Against Standards — Racism, to the Layperson
In Order to Attack ‘Systemic Racism,’ a School Eliminates Failure and Time Constraints
Back to California, the president’s letter offered “key tips” for superior schooling. Here are a few examples:
- Consider assessment opportunities as an opportunity to teach equity and inclusion to students.
- Encourage and provide opportunities to collaborate.
- Students should be allowed to ask questions from multiple sources, just like we do in the real-world.
For instructors who are looking for less work
- For each assessment, consider the labor involved in grading.
Courtesy of the missive’s conclusion:
The University of California has a variety of initiatives to promote equity in assessment and grading, which includes those that reward mastery of course content. … [U]C’s efforts and partnerships with other intersegmental and peer institutions will advance research and identify promising practices that can continue to improve student outcomes and educational equity.
Maybe it’ll end up mimicking MIT:
In 2020–21, [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] implemented a new “Flexible Pass/No Record” grading policy1 for entering first-year undergraduates. First-year undergraduates had the opportunity to choose up to 48 units that would be graded according to a pass/no records basis. Students had to successfully complete each subject in order to receive a grade. Students had two options: keep their grade, or ask for it to be changed to pass/no-record. The letter grades A, B or C were passed and the D or F were not. … Initial feedback was the new policy had been well-received by students, with 78 percent feeling “very positive” about this new grading policy.
MIT also abolished standardized testing, as an aside. However, this was then:
MIT Reinstates the SAT After Its ‘Archrival’ Admits More Asians https://t.co/SLhIjcBGDU
— RedState (@RedState) April 6, 2022
The world is rapidly changing. In the past, an iconic nightmare was the scenario of showing up for school to take a test for which one hadn’t studied.
New generations will be irritated when they arrive at school and find no safe places.
If they’re California Dreamin’, at least they may be safe from getting a bad grade.
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