Tag Archives: trust

Something’s missing…

Something’s missing…do you ever get that feeling? You can’t put your finger on it right away, but something is just not quite right. When I think about some classrooms, I get this feeling. The student hands are up as a teacher explains an assignment. Kids are persistently asking whether it will be collected or graded, how many points it is worth, how they can ‘earn’ a grade, is there an opportunity for extra credit…

Something’s missing…

Do these students know what they are learning and how it is relevant? What skills they are working to develop? What key understandings they must take forward to demonstrate proficiency? With all the time spent on those other questions and discussions, the focus on learning gets lost in the mix.

Something’s missing…

In traditional classrooms with traditional grading practices, students rely on compliance, assignment completion, and point collection to ‘achieve’ and/or ‘prove’ learning. Because so many of us (students, parents, and educators alike) have been immersed in this type of culture for so long, it may feel as though all the puzzle pieces are in place, the classroom is running well, and learning is happening because of this.

But something’s missing…

In standards based classrooms and culture, something is missing as well, actually several things. Percentages are missing, points are missing, frequent grades in general are missing.  Averaging is a practice of the past. Behavioral grading has been replaced with relationships based on trust that garner positive behaviors and intrinsic motivation. Students and parents may miss the percentages and points, especially at the beginning of the move toward standards based grading. Students who play the game of school well will also miss these and need reassurance along the way that when the learning happens, the grades will follow.

The missing pieces in standards based culture don’t need to return for our students to learn. They don’t carry a meaningful place in the journey of learning. Instead of missing pieces to the puzzle, they can become roadblocks that are at the very best cumbersome for our students and at the worst insurmountable. Even without them, the feeling of something lacking disappears and all the pieces fit together. Students are developing skills and understandings to be lifelong learners.

This newly constructed puzzle will transform education for our students. It will remove obstacles to learning that eat up those all important instructional minutes and opportunities to practice crucial skills and understandings.

At last, nothing is missing.