Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Words from the past we can learn from....
I love the new feature ASCD has of being able to explore its previous articles and columns, dating back to 1941. Here is one such gem from 1975:
My Back Pages
Assessing Pupil Progress—New Methods Are Emerging (1975)
James L. Leary, superintendent for instruction in Plymouth, Mich., schools, knows that grades aren't everything. After all, he relates, "A high school principal recently indicated his concern to me about the fact that the top three students (academically) from the graduating class of '71 are now in mental institutions, having 'bombed out' from drug abuse."
From here, Leary shares strides in making grading a more meaningful endeavor in his 1975 Educational Leadership article.
Read the article: Assessing Pupil Progress: New Methods Are Emerging (PDF)
Some of these methods, such as student involvement in the evaluation process, open-ended essay responses rather than multiple-choice tests, and more frequent feedback, will be familiar to most educators today.
More elaborate emerging methods Leary describes include high school courses where grades are dropped altogether and assessment in such courses as "World Travel Hints" and "Post-Graduation Survival" that are arrived at in groups in a "helping relationship atmosphere."
As educators continue to pursue elusive ideals of assessment, this time capsule provides a nice balance of time-honored reforms and details distinctly of its era.
In "My Back Pages," we look at important issues through the historical lens of the Educational Leadershiparchives. ASCD members can access EL issues from 1943 to the present by signing in at the right.