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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Are cars more complicated than students?

Are cars more complicated than students?

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Explain to me which are more complex, students or cars? In May 2011, the government proposed a new format for representing car Fuel Efficiency on window stickers. Note that the original design was to assign a letter grade of A through D for fuel efficiency, but that was rejected by the manufacturers and other opponents because it was "simplistic and potentially misleading". Cars are apparently much more complicated than people. Relegating a student with a letter grade of A through F in a given subject never caused such pushback. Numerous generations have accepted this basic measurement for students. Evidently, we do not find a letter grade simplistic or misleading when it comes to students. Kids must be simpler than cars. Or, maybe we allow this because educational leaders never had the gumption to fight back and defend students like the automakers did for cars. Even now, it's not too late to start fighting back, but I suppose educational leaders are too satisfied with the status quo. What do you think?

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Bob Charles's picture
Bob Charles
I am in search of definitions for "Quality Eduction" and "Great School".

Letter grades exist because some educators from the past thought parents were too simple to understand a real evaluation.

Now parents believed it. If fact, try to change, and they won't trust the educators. They will scream about objectivity verses the teachers (subjectivity). [even though there is already a lot of subjectivity in letter grades.]

I really think there has been much progress made by teachers to present a fair evaluation to the parents. If the parents knows what to ask, they will be given great detail.

I believe, letter grades really are going to disappear. Especially if learners are evaluated individually against their own capability.

I would love to hear: "Johnie is learning to 90% of his capability in this area ... He is doing very well!" Instead of, "Johnie earned a "C" and that is average compared to the other students."

Under letter grades, when he graduates, Johnie is going to receive a 2.2 average. And be labeled a loser.

When he should have been a valedictorian because he tried the hardest. And reached nearest his own personal capabilities more than any other student. And would be pumped up by his achievement and ready to take on the world. And be an inspiration the everyone.

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