Qualitative Grading and its Bias

After reading the Case Against Grading by Alfie Kohn I found myself agreeing with a lot of his points. After thinking about it, it does scare me that we would potentially get rid of the grading system entirely, just because it is human nature to put people in boxes and categories. How would we have/replace a quantitative system to gauge people and place them into universities ? I think we would still need some standardized testing that gives us the chance to assess what people actually know. While I think standardized tests don’t really do this well, I can’t think of another way to do this. Do you have any suggestions ?

Another thing I worry about is this concept is purely based on how well the teacher assesses the students. I mean people have different expectations and knowledge bases. A teacher at one school might have a much more stringent idea of what is necessary while another teacher is not quite as versed in the material. So there would be a big discrepancy in what is taught or how it is qualitatively graded. I will say my personal experience with college education has made me question what institutions teach and what they expect from their students. I did my undergrad and masters at a top 50 school and then I came to Tech. The difference in expectations and work load was very apparent. I guess that comes with the territory of going to a better school but I always just assumed any ABET accredited program was more or less teaching the same things. However it is more of a baseline of what needs to be taught and the school can go above and beyond that.   I feel like there might be a lot of this happening.

That being said I think the current system is broke and we need a solution. I like the idea of qualitative grading but I worry that some teachers wont be up for it and that we need some metric to measure progress. What are your thoughts ?

Gaming Teaching vs Conventional Teaching

After watching the Vimeo video Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st century I thought I would share some of my concerns / comments with you folks.  The first thing I want to say is this is a really novel and amazing idea. It is really nice to see the educational system embrace technology and conforming to this new way of teaching. I think presenting subject matter through the use of games or other forms of media is very unique way of secretly teaching the children at this school.  I would think it surely beats lectures in some aspects. That being said I am worried that this style of teaching is kind of catered to kids that are already “gamers or computer junkies” which is fine, but I worry that this style of teaching is assuming all these kids want to go into a game development or computer science related job.  I worry that they are so young and this curriculum might be too focused on the gaming aspect.  What if gaming is just a hobby and not a passion they want to make a career out of ? Do you think this gaming teaching style is as good as a conventional education ? I say this because I feel like the way conventional schools are setup is all these different opportunities are given to you. This allows you to try them all. As it turns out you might be really great at something you never thought you would be. I am just worried that these kids are being Pidgeon held into a life that they did not choose but was forced on them. Let’s face it they are kids and at that age they really don’t know any better or what they really want.

As a final though, in the video the kids go on to say that they still have conventional classes, however that just have different titles. Also a teacher says that they cover all the material required by the state. My question to you is do you think what they cover is as comprehensive as other conventional schools?