Saturday, May 17, 2008

How To Protect The Fragile, Self-Esteem Of Children

I was asked to judge a scholastic "competition" a few years ago. I am not likely to ever do it again; I was appalled at the fluffy feel-good happycrap I heard that day. It was more about protecting the students' fragile feelings, building up their self-esteem, and protecting them from disappointment than it was about healthy competition, real achievement and striving for excellence.

So, for all you liberal, touchy-feely parents and educators, I suggest the following

Grading Guidelines
for Classroom Teachers

Start with the premise that all students are winners. They have all achieved a certain level of deserved success by simply showing up for class. And they have each completed the preceding grades; that should account for something (kindergarteners are winners by virtue of the fact that they just exist because, after all, every child is a winner).

Because they are all winners, it logically follows that there are NO losers. Therefore, all grading, must occur on a standard scale of 60-100%. Any failing scores (those from 0-59%) must be automatically eliminated.

Any scores accumulated throughout the year that are below 60% must be thrown out. Teachers may only consider scores on homework assignments, class work, and tests that are above 60%.

Since most kids are fairly consistent in their performance, all scores that fall more or less than ten points outside of the individual student's average should all be disregarded. The discrepancies are probably due to teacher error or incompetency.

The remaining scores will then be averaged to determine the students' final grades. All final grades will fall into one of the following three ranks with their respective definitions:

  • Blue Ribbon Winner- You are a “Super Star.” Not that you are any better than anyone else. Your high scores are only attributable to the fact that you are a lucky winner in life’s lottery. You probably have two college educated parents, a unique gene pool, a relative on staff, blond hair and blue eyes or else you have mastered the art of making kissy noises to the teacher.
  • Red Ribbon Winner- You are a “High Achiever.” You didn’t get the highest scores but don't feel bad; it’s not your fault. Anyway, you’ll still get to be Valedictorian some day, along with 17 of your other classmates because it's not fair to punish someone just because he (she, it, or they) missed by only a few points.
  • White Ribbon Winner- This is the “Attaboy” award. Don't feel bad, grades are not that important anyway. What is important is that you tried; that you gave it some effort; that you showed up and put in your time.
With my proposed grading system, everyone gets to feel good. Each parent will receive a "My Child Was Student Of The Year" bumper sticker so they can brag about their little achievers. Teachers will be warmly regarded and everyone will get to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas at graduation time. Then we can launch the darlings into the real world and dump them into the job market where their unsuspecting new bosses think they know something. And, by the way, if anyone cries "foul" we can just blame the whole problem of our failed education system on lack of funding, George Bush or the war in Iraq.


Valerie said...

I agree, I give this blog, the blogging author, and his/her ideas the BLUE RIBBON!

Matt said...

Here, here. I, being employed in the educational field, feel like I must go ahead and give the BLUE RIBBON award to this blog author as well. But, if the author, or subsequent readers be offended by such a judgement, here is my disclaimer, "I, being nobody really, especially not anyone better than the next, offer my humble, but not authoritative judgement on this blog." Sorry!

Daisy said...

LOL. My husband (public school teacher) loves it! He'd post himself but he is too busy filling out "atta boy" certificates for the end of the year awards assembly.