May 13, 2009
It might be the worst Canadian import since Celine Dion: Ken O'Connor's dubious notions about "standards-based" grading. This Toronto-based consultant, who dubs himself "The Grade Doctor," argues that students shouldn't be dinged for missing deadlines, assignments or tests or, for that matter, cheating. "In a standards-based system, grades need to be as pure measures of achievement that we can make them and they should not be inflated by good behavior or deflated by ‘bad' behavior," writes O'Connor. (It seems the only thing shoddier than his ideas is his grammar.) You might think that educators, who themselves resist being evaluated by "pure measures of achievement," might think twice about these noxious ideas. But alas, O'Connor receives up to $8,000 per day to flog these nostrums and apparently has plenty of willing customers. It may come as no surprise that the Wake County (NC) Public Schools, that bastion of dumb ideas (try here, here, here, here, and here, for starters), is one of them. We're with Wake teacher Jennifer Rosa, who worries that "students are quickly learning that they do not have to be held to deadlines and timelines." We suspect they are also learning that their school administrators are lacking in critical-thinking skills.
"Wake woos guru on grading," by T. Keung Hui, The News & Observer, May 11, 2009