Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A for effort?

Students complain that they're not getting the grades they deserve.

“I think putting in a lot of effort should merit a high grade,” Mr. Greenwood said. “What else is there really than the effort that you put in?”

How about how correct your work is? How about the quality?

If a person didn't do much work on a math problem and they got it right, should they get a lower grade than a person that worked all night and got it wrong?

Ace nails it
With all due respect to Mr. Greenwood, there is something more than effort - results. Effort is certainly admirable, but the purpose of education is to achieve understanding of the material. If a student cannot pass tests or submit papers, they should not be expected to earn high grades.

Sarah Kinn, a junior English major at the University of Vermont, agreed, saying, “I feel that if I do all of the readings and attend class regularly that I should be able to achieve a grade of at least a B.”

So alot of effort is defined as basic reading and attendance?

“If you put in all the effort you have and get a C, what is the point?” he added.

The point? The point is that maybe you're just not good enough. Just because someone tries their hardest is no reason to give them an A. That's like saying "Well sure he failed all his medical tests but he tries SO hard!"

“If someone goes to every class and reads every chapter in the book and does everything the teacher asks of them and more, then they should be getting an A like their effort deserves. If your maximum effort can only be average in a teacher’s mind, then something is wrong.”

Emphasis added. Mr. Greenwood is going by a bit of slight of hand here. Meeting, and exceeding, the teacher's requirements is A quality work. However, if someone really is doing that level of work, odds are they're not griping about "I put in enough effort."

Then we get into the logistics. How pray, should a prof measure effort?

And how does this "effort-measure" even remotely fly in math, hard sciences, or applied sciences. You know where there are verrifiable results and actual wrong or right answers.

These kids, and I use the term deliberately, need to realize something: Sometimes your best isn't goood enough.

1 comment:

Dark Ether said...

oh, Jack, Jack, Jack....
After all that time living in New York I thought you would have learned. It's not the merit of your argument that matters, it's how loudly you say it.