A RhetNet SnapShot Reply:


Eric Crump

Exactly my point. The grading system is fun (for me) to whack at, but it is important to keep in mind that it is the interface, so to speak, to the operating system of the classroom, the configurations of power. *That* is what I really object to: the teacher as sole posessor of institutionally conferred power. It skews the hell out of the relationship between teachers and students *if* what we hope for that relationship is a stronger emphasis on mutual respect and mutual learning.

You first have to assume that a linear, progressive, developmental model of education is a good thing. If moving through stages, semester by semester, year by year, degree by degree is what you like, then grades are important. They are load-bearing wall in the structure of that system. If you put learning above credentialing, however, and if you assume that learning is a complex matter that doesn't fit well into institutionally determined stages, then grading represents the wall of a prison cell, a barrier that more impedes than promotes learning. As you might guess, my argument is based on the latter assumptions rather than the former. In other words, I'm not sure it's important to decide who should move on and who shouldn't or who moves on with honors and who with 'average' stamped on their forehead. I'm not sure it's important to move *on* at all, if "on" means the the next grade, the next degree, etc. I'd rather see people move on to the next project, whatever it is they are ready to tackle and want to tackle. An utterly alien notion in our educational system, I know. A very unrealistic wish.


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