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#ThinkAboutItThursday – Do Schools Focus Too Much On Grades?

Think About It! ThursdayToday’s Topic: Has education become more about temporary results and grades than long-term success and knowledge?

In one word, yes. Grades have always been the way to decide whether a child “got” a concept and it’s only gotten worse over the last few years. Teachers are being graded. Schools are being graded. If school’s don’t do well, they lose money. School officials push teachers to perform better on tests. Teachers push kids. Kids push back. Teachers get frustrated and just teach what’s going to be on those all important performance tests. The kids perform better on the tests so the school officials get off the teachers. And the cycle goes round and round while kids learn to memorize, test, and dump the information needed for a test.

Why do kids need to memorize facts they won’t remember is 10 years? When was the last time you were required to recite all the presidents to do your job? The last time you needed to know the quadratic equation? How about what the symbol for iron is and where it’s located on the periodic table? These are just a few of the useless information we memorized as kids—unless we went into certain fields that required this knowledge. We learned much more about life from hanging out with our friends and people who shared our interests.

ExamOur boys are always surprised when people ask them how their grades are in school because we don’t do grades at all. We work on applying the concepts to real world scenarios in lieu of testing. One question we seem to get a lot is “How do you know your child understands if you don’t test them on the subject?” Personally, I think it’s easier without tests. When I see Drama King look at 3 groups of 3 items and he says he has 9 of them. I know he can add and possibly even multiply—a concept that recently entered their knowledge bank. When Little T tells me that more than half of the kids playing soccer are boys, I know he understands the concept of half. When they both can tell me about how the blood flows through their body and they are made up almost entirely of water, I know they understand their bodies. When Little T compares ingredients in his favorite cereals to Tim’s favorite cereal and tells me, “Dad’s cereal is healthier and I’d like to try it,” I know I am teaching them to make good food decisions. When Little T actually eats so much of Tim’s cereal that I have to start buying more than one box a week and less boxes of the sugar laced cereals, I know they realize the health of their body is important.

Next week’s topic: Is spending too much time on your computer bad?

Your Turn
Do you think education is more about tests and grades than long-term knowledge?

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Image by Alberto G. via Flickr

By Angelia Embler

Angi grew up in southern Arizona but now lives in central New Mexico with her husband, two sons and four dogs. She creates, answers @Yoast support, and loves to ramble. Find her curled up with a book or watching her favorite TV shows, movies, or American football game. ?

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