Ed 201 was totally fabulous today! We talked about Christian Assessment. How should Christian teachers grade differently than other teachers?
Should we have grades? How much do they really reflect what a student has learned? Do they focus too much on head knowledge and not enough on heart knowledge? Should grades be more based on effort than tests? How would we do that and still meet state standards? Maybe differentiation and basing each grade on each individual’s progress. But who really has time for that?
We struggled with this in class today and my wheels were turning, but I don’t have an answer. Here are some of my thoughts and thoughts from our textbook and professor:
I am frustrated by our system because it tends to be geared to those who test well. Even if it is more focused on participation, that’s only good for those who are brave enough or extroverted enough to participate. The system also tells us that the goal of high school is to prepare each student for college. I’m sorry, but if a 16-year-old is obviously going to be an awesome farmer but hates school, let him drop out and be a farmer. If that’s where God wants him to be, why should be force him to be in school and not learn anything because he doesn’t want to be there?
Harro Van Brummelen, the author of one of our textbooks, has some good thoughts about Christian assessment. In his book “Walking with God in the Classroom” he says that the purposes of assessment are to encourage and improve student learning and to communicate meaningful information to students, parents, and school authorities about student learning. He also says that there are some basic premises that guide a Christian approach: Assessment and evaluation must enable students to respond as images of God. “1. Response is an integral aspect of knowing and of being an image of God. Therefore use assessment and evaluation to lead to further learning. Help students reflect on and refine their learning. Also, encourage them to learn from mistakes. 2. Assessment recognizes accomplishments and challenges students to further learning and growth…God calls teachers to ‘correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction’ (2 Ti 4:2)…encouragement must always accompany correction.
Finally, students perceive that letter grades indicate their worth as persons. We must try to minimize this idea, however. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” How does this fit with how the school system evaluates learning?
Sorry if that was long and kind of boring, but if you are a teacher or have background in education or simply have a brain, please respond and let me know what you think about this! If you do not respond, I will assume that you do not have a brain, and evaluate you accordingly (pun intended).