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robertogreco : gpa   10

Opinion | What Straight-A Students Get Wrong - The New York Times
"A decade ago, at the end of my first semester teaching at Wharton, a student stopped by for office hours. He sat down and burst into tears. My mind started cycling through a list of events that could make a college junior cry: His girlfriend had dumped him; he had been accused of plagiarism. “I just got my first A-minus,” he said, his voice shaking.

Year after year, I watch in dismay as students obsess over getting straight A’s. Some sacrifice their health; a few have even tried to sue their school after falling short. All have joined the cult of perfectionism out of a conviction that top marks are a ticket to elite graduate schools and lucrative job offers.

I was one of them. I started college with the goal of graduating with a 4.0. It would be a reflection of my brainpower and willpower, revealing that I had the right stuff to succeed. But I was wrong.

The evidence is clear: Academic excellence is not a strong predictor of career excellence. Across industries, research shows that the correlation between grades and job performance is modest in the first year after college and trivial within a handful of years. For example, at Google, once employees are two or three years out of college, their grades have no bearing on their performance. (Of course, it must be said that if you got D’s, you probably didn’t end up at Google.)

Academic grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social, emotional and political intelligence. Yes, straight-A students master cramming information and regurgitating it on exams. But career success is rarely about finding the right solution to a problem — it’s more about finding the right problem to solve.

In a classic 1962 study, a team of psychologists tracked down America’s most creative architects and compared them with their technically skilled but less original peers. One of the factors that distinguished the creative architects was a record of spiky grades. “In college our creative architects earned about a B average,” Donald MacKinnon wrote. “In work and courses which caught their interest they could turn in an A performance, but in courses that failed to strike their imagination, they were quite willing to do no work at all.” They paid attention to their curiosity and prioritized activities that they found intrinsically motivating — which ultimately served them well in their careers.

Getting straight A’s requires conformity. Having an influential career demands originality. In a study of students who graduated at the top of their class, the education researcher Karen Arnold found that although they usually had successful careers, they rarely reached the upper echelons. “Valedictorians aren’t likely to be the future’s visionaries,” Dr. Arnold explained. “They typically settle into the system instead of shaking it up.”

This might explain why Steve Jobs finished high school with a 2.65 G.P.A., J.K. Rowling graduated from the University of Exeter with roughly a C average, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. got only one A in his four years at Morehouse.

If your goal is to graduate without a blemish on your transcript, you end up taking easier classes and staying within your comfort zone. If you’re willing to tolerate the occasional B, you can learn to program in Python while struggling to decipher “Finnegans Wake.” You gain experience coping with failures and setbacks, which builds resilience.

Straight-A students also miss out socially. More time studying in the library means less time to start lifelong friendships, join new clubs or volunteer. I know from experience. I didn’t meet my 4.0 goal; I graduated with a 3.78. (This is the first time I’ve shared my G.P.A. since applying to graduate school 16 years ago. Really, no one cares.) Looking back, I don’t wish my grades had been higher. If I could do it over again, I’d study less. The hours I wasted memorizing the inner workings of the eye would have been better spent trying out improv comedy and having more midnight conversations about the meaning of life.

So universities: Make it easier for students to take some intellectual risks. Graduate schools can be clear that they don’t care about the difference between a 3.7 and a 3.9. Colleges could just report letter grades without pluses and minuses, so that any G.P.A. above a 3.7 appears on transcripts as an A. It might also help to stop the madness of grade inflation, which creates an academic arms race that encourages too many students to strive for meaningless perfection. And why not let students wait until the end of the semester to declare a class pass-fail, instead of forcing them to decide in the first month?

Employers: Make it clear you value skills over straight A’s. Some recruiters are already on board: In a 2003 study of over 500 job postings, nearly 15 percent of recruiters actively selected against students with high G.P.A.s (perhaps questioning their priorities and life skills), while more than 40 percent put no weight on grades in initial screening.

Straight-A students: Recognize that underachieving in school can prepare you to overachieve in life. So maybe it’s time to apply your grit to a new goal — getting at least one B before you graduate."
education  grades  grading  colleges  universities  academia  2018  adamgrant  psychology  gpa  assessment  criticalthinking  anxiety  stress  learning  howwelearn  motivation  gradschool  jkrowling  stevejobs  martinlutherkingjr  perfectionism  srg  edg  mlk 
december 2018 by robertogreco
How to Build Castles in the Air – Teachers Going Gradeless
"One of the more profound ironies of “going gradeless” is realizing just how fundamental grades are to the architecture of schools.

Grades undergird nearly everything we do in education. By threatening late penalties and administering one-shot assessments, we focus our famously distracted students on the task at hand. By regularly updating our online gradebooks, we provide an ongoing snapshot of student performance so precise it can be calculated to the hundredths place.

Grades inform our curriculum and instruction too. Because so much rides on them, it’s essential we build upon the rock of “objective” data, not the shifting sands of human judgment. Thus, we limit ourselves to those kinds of learning that can be easily measured and quantified. A multiple choice quiz testing students’ knowledge of literary devices can be reliably scored by your 10-year-old daughter (not saying I’ve ever done that). A stack of bubble sheets can be scanned on your way out of the building for the summer. Check your results online in the driveway, then go inside and make yourself a margarita.

If you want to evaluate something more complex, like writing, you had better develop an iron-clad rubric and engage in some serious range-finding sessions with your colleagues. Don’t put anything subjective like creativity or risk taking on that rubric — you’re already on shaky ground as it is. Make sure to provide an especially strict template so that the essay is fully prepared to “meet its maker.” Word choice, punctuation, sentence variety, quote incorporation — these are the nuts and bolts of writing. If the Hemingway Editor can’t see it, isn’t it just your opinion?

Hopefully, you see the irony here. Grades don’t communicate achievement; most contain a vast idiosyncratic array of weights, curves, point values, and penalties. Nor do they motivate students much beyond what it takes to maintain a respectable GPA. And by forcing us to focus on so-called objective measures, grades have us trade that which is most meaningful for that which is merely demonstrable: recall, algorithm use, anything that can be reified into a rubric. Grading reforms have sometimes succeeded in making these numbers, levels, and letters more meaningful, but more often than not it is the learning that suffers, as we continually herd our rich, interconnected disciplines into the gradebook’s endless succession of separate cells.

So, as I’ve said before, grades are not great. Nor are the ancillary tools, tests, structures, and strategies that support them. But as anyone who has gone gradeless can tell you, grades don’t just magically go away, leaving us free to fan the flames of intrinsic motivation and student passion. Grades remain the very foundation on which we build. Most gradeless teachers must enter a grade at the end of each marking period and, even if we didn’t, our whole educational enterprise is overshadowed by the specter of college admissions and scholarships. And since grades and tests rank so high in those determinations, we kid ourselves in thinking we’ve escaped their influence.

Even in a hypothetical environment without these extrinsic stresses, students are still subject to a myriad of influences, not the least of which being the tech industry with its constant bombardment of notifications and nudges. This industry, which spends billions engineering apps for maximum engagement, has already rendered the comparatively modest inducements of traditional schooling laughable. Still, the rhetoric of autonomy, passion, and engagement always seems to take this in stride, as if the Buddha — not billionaires — is behind this ever-expanding universe.

Let’s go one more step further, though, and imagine a world without the tech industry. Surely that would be a world in which the “inner mounting flame” of student passion could flourish.

But complete freedom, autonomy, and agency is not a neutral or even acceptable foundation for education. The notion of a blank slate on which to continuously project one’s passion, innovation, or genius is seriously flawed. Sherri Spelic, examining the related rhetoric of design thinking, points out how “neoliberal enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and start-up culture” does little to address “social dilemmas fueled by historic inequality and stratification.” In other words, blank spaces — including the supposed blank space of going gradeless — are usually little more than blind spots. And often these blind spots are where our more marginalized students fall through the cracks.

Even if we were able provide widespread, equitable access to springboards of self-expression, autonomy, and innovation, what then? To what extent are we all unwittingly falling into a larger neoliberal trap that, in the words of Byung-Chul Han, turns each of us into an “auto-exploiting labourer in his or her own enterprise”?
Today, we do not deem ourselves subjugated subjects, but rather projects: always refashioning and reinventing ourselves. A sense of freedom attends passing from the state of subject to that of project. All the same, this projection amounts to a form of compulsion and constraint — indeed, to a more efficient kind of subjectification and subjugation. As a project deeming itself free of external and alien limitations, the I is now subjugating itself to internal limitations and self-constraints, which are taking the form of compulsive achievement and optimization.


One doesn’t have to look too far to find the rhetoric of “harnessing student passion” and “self-regulated learners” to understand the paradoxical truth of this statement. This vision of education, in addition to constituting a new strategy of control, also undermines any sense of classrooms as communities of care and locations of resistance.
@hhschiaravalli:

A5. Watch out for our tendency to lionize those who peddle extreme personalization, individual passion, entrepreneurial mindsets. So many of these undermine any sense of collective identity, responsibility, solidarity #tg2chat


Clearly, not all intrinsic or extrinsic motivation is created equal. Perhaps instead of framing the issue in these terms, we should see it as a question of commitment or capitulation.

Commitment entails a robust willingness to construct change around what Gert Biesta describes as fundamental questions of “content, purpose, and relationship.” It requires that we find ways to better communicate and support student learning, produce more equitable results, and, yes, sometimes shield students from outside influences. Contrary to the soaring rhetoric of intrinsic motivation, none of this will happen by itself.

Capitulation means shirking this responsibility, submerging it in the reductive comfort of numbers or in neoliberal notions of autonomy.

Framing going gradeless through the lens of extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation, then, is not only misleading and limited, it’s harmful. No teacher — gradeless or otherwise — can avoid the task of finding humane ways to leverage each of these in the service of greater goals. Even if we could, there are other interests, much more powerful, much more entrenched, and much better funded than us always ready to rush into that vacuum.

To resist these forces, we will need to use everything in our power to find and imagine new structures and strategies, building our castles in air on firm foundations."
grades  grading  equity  morivation  intrinsicmotivation  extrinsicmotivation  measurement  schools  schooling  learning  howwelearn  socialjustice  neoliberalism  arthurchiaravalli  subjectivity  objectivity  systemsthinking  education  unschooling  deschooling  assessment  accountability  subjectification  subjugation  achievement  optimization  efficiency  tests  testing  standardization  control  teaching  howweteach  2018  resistance  gertbiesta  capitulation  responsibility  structure  strategy  pedagogy  gpa  ranking  sherrispelic  byung-chulhan  compulsion  constraint  self-regulation  passion  identity  solidarity  personalization  collectivism  inequality 
february 2018 by robertogreco
What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? - NYTimes.com
"…concerns about a character program…comprised only those kind of nice-guy values. “The danger w/ character is if you just revert to these general terms—respect, honesty, tolerance—it seems really vague. If I stand in front of kids & just say, ‘It’s really important for you to respect each other,’…they glaze over. But if you say, ‘Well, actually you need to exhibit self-control,’ or you explain the value of social intelligence—this will help you collaborate more effectively —…it seems…more tangible.”…

“Sure, a trait can backfire. Too much grit…you start to lose ability to have empathy for other people. If you’re so gritty that you don’t understand why everyone’s complaining about how hard things are, because nothing’s hard for you, because you’re Mr. Grit, you’re going to have a hard time being kind. Even love—being too loving might make you the kind of person who can get played…character is something you have to be careful about…strengths can become character weaknesses.”
education  character  tcsnmy  lcproject  teaching  learning  grading  books  success  failure  kipp  schools  workethic  kindness  empathy  dominicrandolph  davidlevin  michaelfeinberg  martinseligman  christopherpeterson  2011  psychology  longterm  grit  gritscale  angeladuckworth  iq  wholecandidatescore  grades  self-control  socialintelligence  gratitude  curiosity  optimism  zest  gpa  cpa  character-pointaverage  middle-classvalues  self-regulation  interpersonal  love  humor  beauty  bravery  citizenship  fairness  integrity  wisdom 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Why American Mothers are Superior
"Lots of middle managers like people to do exactly what told…

Schools really like people to do what they're told, & unis just love grad students who pay high out-of-state tuition, teach for low wages, or work in lab for free. Hey, don’t blame us if 30% of students we admit are from other countries, they did best on tests & had 4.0…

Someone ought to ask WHY we measure what we measure…tests we give & other admissions criteria were not handed down by God…

I doubt many unis would admit student like me today…I did have an intense desire to learn about world…my undergrad ed gave me gift of profs willing to respond to my interests, enough time not to interfere w/ my relationship w/ library, & classmates I argued w/ for pure intellectual exercise…

Dr. Chua is raising children to fit Ivy League…I’m raising…to be themselves…Her definition of success is to have…prodigies. Mine…who learn, live & love well. She’s a success by her standards as I am by mine."
parenting  education  culture  tcsnmy  freedom  interests  interestdriven  duty  cv  teaching  schools  schooling  schooliness  identity  prodigies  admissions  gpa  testing  standardizedtesting  passion  learning  well-being  china  society  success  meaning  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  amychua 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Chapel Hill Campus Takes On Grade Inflation - NYTimes.com
"“It’s complicated, it’s controversial, and it runs into campus political opposition from all sorts of directions you might not anticipate,” Mr. Nassirian said, adding that transcripts with too much extra information can become unwieldy.

Studies of grade inflation have found that private universities generally give higher grades than public ones, and that humanities courses award higher grades than science and math classes.

Mr. Perrin’s concern with grading standards began 15 years ago, when he was a teaching assistant at the University of California, Berkeley.

“I would grade papers, run the grades by the professor and then give them out, and long lines of students would appear outside my office to say I graded too hard,” Mr. Perrin said. Now, at North Carolina, Mr. Perrin is convinced that grading problems are pervasive."
grades  grading  gradeinflation  highereducation  highered  teaching  economics  assessment  transcipts  gpa  2010  unc  education  learning  evaluation 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Marco.org - School grades are hopelessly broken
"Grades don’t reflect your aptitude, intelligence, or understanding of subject matter. You don’t need to actually learn much useful material to get good grades. (& many of those who learn exceptionally well don’t get good grades.)...
us  grades  grading  highered  learning  education  gpa  tcsnmy  via:lukeneff  schools  toshare  topost  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  authenticity  writing  classideas  aptitude  intelligence  understanding  memorization  rote  teaching  schooling  schooliness  marcoarment  rotelearning 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Do Good Grades Predict Success? - Freakonomics Blog - NYTimes.com
"[we] assume grades in school predict future success/intelligence...I doubt it...tried to find good studies, but found 5 problems: very definition of success is elusive; How do you measure validity of grades?; Most middle & high schools put so much emphasis on homework vs actual understanding that they are measuring behavior & compliance far more than what has been learned; Creativity & creative people tend to mess up metrics at each level; research found was done at university which tended to bias results using university metrics of success...[Does] present system actually produce more success or heavily limit it? Would different system w/ less emphasis on conformity produce more of best & brightest? Or does annealing effect of being crushed by system help produce best & brightest?...those who have advanced our thinking, abilities, technologies, & economy did poorly in school, yet persisted...persistence may have been critical element..perhaps lost had they been encouraged more."
education  learning  creativity  academics  policy  meritocracy  freakonomics  intelligence  assessment  schools  economics  grading  grades  research  success  psychology  parenting  technology  gpa  life  innovation  society  tcsnmy  evaluation 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Daring Fireball Linked List: Regarding Marissa Mayer's Personnel Decisions
"I realize how hard it is to find good employees, and how hard it is to evaluate prospective employees from their résumés — that snap judgments from limited information must be made. But this makes it sound like Mayer still uses SAT scores and college grade-point averages to judge current Google employees being considered for promotion.
hiring  marissamayer  google  sat  perfectionism  grades  grading  assessment  management  leadership  education  psychology  intelligence  gpa  badchoices  lackofvision  administration  johngruber  personnel  exams  conformism  conformists  schooliness 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The Quick and the Ed - If It's Random, Say It's Random
"friend who’s worked for 2 college admissions departments. One... traditional liberal arts college in the NE, the other a highly competitive college in greater DC. At the former...mostly sane process where they more or less knew high schools of students, had time to read student’s personal statements & truly thought about whether student would be a good fit...in DC, at competitive school...totally different. Mainly because of sheer size of applicant pool...had to rely much more heavily on all-important numbers — GPA & SAT — rather than thinking holistically about student. The admissions office, even after setting a relatively high standard, had 1000s of applicants to choose from & very little time to do so. During admissions season, each officer was given 500 applications per week. At 40 hours/week, not counting breaks and meetings, the admissions officer had 10 minutes to make a decision about an applicant. Ten minutes (unless, as my friend points out, they’re athletes or legacies)."
admissions  colleges  universities  sat  gpa  assessment  luck  unschooling  deschooling  lottery  chance  education  policy  schooling  us 
march 2009 by robertogreco
So I'm The Valedictorian
"Umm yeah, so I'm the valedictorian. Number one. But, what separates me from number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 50, or 120? Nothing but meaningless numbers. ... It is disturbing enough that throughout high school, GPA and grades are pushed as the most important things, while learning, the real reason we are in school, falls by the wayside. The MCAS serve as just another set of meaningless numbers that add one more reason to focus on scores and forget learning. ... Schools are being turned into factories churning out brainless, mindless, opinion-less hacks year after year. ... We hear GPA, class rank, SAT, test grade, midterms, finals, scholastic achievement but never once do we hear "never mind the grades, think about the learning, think about activism, think about life." We celebrate those who have earned good grades but don't bother to consider if they are at all worthy of the praise. Does anyone care about the human beings behind the numbers?"
grading  grades  schools  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  valedictorians  activism  students  cv  schooliness  assessment  priorities  society  testing  colleges  learning  admissions  tcsnmy  teaching  meaning  children  youth  factoryschools  gpa  sat  lcproject  via:cburell  anneliseschantz 
february 2009 by robertogreco

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