Articles: How Can I Possibly Grade These Students?
. . . and there is no good answer, except that we need to take our K-12 educators to task, and require that any student graduating from high school must have specific minimal math, writing, and cognitive/thinking skills. These should be demonstrable skills proved by independent testing.
Drop out rates, and failed students should cause negative financial consequences to these schools. Excessive failure rates should require the termination of the contracts of the school administration, and the teaching staff., and students should be provided with vouchers for the full value of the education at a school of their choice. The district should be held accountable for these educational failures by being on the hook for the cost of educating students it failed to properly educate.
Incentives matter, and our schools, the districts, the teachers, and the administrators have few incentives to achieve excellence in education. Align the incentives with the goal, and be surprised when the outcomes improve.
This can be done in myriad ways, but vouchers is one mechanism which has worked, and is likely to continue to work. If you don't like that mechanism, devise another, but the current system is creating an army of uneducated imbeciles.
A few quotes:
"It's grade-grubbing season again. With it come nervous, angry, and very rude students.
How can I possibly grade the following actual unedited submissions?
"Attached is the actual outline for my ruff raft. Please, account this as credit therefore I'll prove my academic progression as acknowledgment for satisfactory of the course. The presentation shall be captivating with visualization being a current pet owner of a fish too!"
Then there is the public speaking class outline, where a student submitted the following:
"Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about Bill Clinton and why he is a memorable and unique former President.
Central Idea: Bill is seen as a very affable person, many people can relate to Bill for multiple reasons.
I. He can play the saxophone.
II. Bill has no elite sources, privilege or status unlike many other former presidents.
III. He was the second President to ever get impeached, which made the public understand that he too can make mistakes and was not perfect."
The inchoate level of thinking will require a Herculean effort on my part to fix, and I remain quite pessimistic that it will even matter."
I have to agree, Maddogsdatir recently had a paper due, it was a narrative form discussing her personal approach to, and experience with creating a class project. She had serious trouble formatting the paper, and it simply became a stream of consciousness experiment. Most of the sentences were fine (they could be much better, but were fine for her age). But the actual structure was a disaster. Like the author here I had a few moments of despair, before I simply reformatted the entire project. The problem was Maddogsdatir only left me a rough draft not an e-copy, so I had to retype the entire paper. Oh well!
The only cure for this is to find out the writing skills of each students is as soon as possible. I would assign a short paper on the first day to assess technical skill, sentence structure, and ability to format a document. The second day I would assign a 3-4 page "research" paper where I would provide the research articles, which would be 3 or 4 article with very different opinions on the subject. I would use this paper to determine the students critical thinking skills, ability to organize material, think through ideas, evaluate information, and put their thoughts into a final intelligible form.
At least with that information I would be able to know which students should be in the class and which should not. I would also know how much attention, and tutoring each student would need over the course of the class. I would then likely fall into a deep despair.
I would be magnanimous with my time, but stingy with grades. Students would earn their grade, there would be no Gentlemen's C's. If a student wanted to earn an F, that is fine with me.
Ultimately the problem here is students have no interest in knowledge, or education, nor do they understand why they should. They have mostly been told what to think, and the important stuff to them is the politically correct pap of the progressive cant. Instead of desiring education, and knowledge, they only want the certificate, the degree. They believe this will allow them to succeed in life, but it will not. It only opens the door, it is the student abilities which allow success, and if the student has no abilities to offer their employer, it is not clear how they will be able to succeed.
Long term solutions include, shortening the college degree to 3 years - 2.5 in major, 0.5 related to major, and removing testing from the purview of the teacher/professor. The author gives away the game with this sentence: "It's grade-grubbing season again." The professor will be rated by the students, and poor grades mean a low rating, which can cause stagnate pay, and limited job mobility. The incentives are to inflate grades, the opposite of what is needed. The college should teach, and an independent third party should test. This would reward excellent teachers, since students would not be inclined to rate the teacher by the ease of the testing/grading.
Also, let's be frank, there are too many people matriculating to university. IQ matters, and we are now matriculating about 75% of our high school class. It is not possible to believe that 75% of every high school class has sufficient IQ to maximize the college experience. The result has been the dumbing down of college, and destroying the college degree as harbinger of education.
That only leaves the K-12 system to provide the basics of education. This also needs much change, but it seems we are too conservative, and too mired in the politically correct to make the necessary changes here. Until we do, our children will suffer. Yet again Boomer venality shows it ugly head.