This is not new. In my son's school (up to 4th grade), there are no grades. The students took standard test each year. And the ratings for each category/skill are "exceeding expectation", "meeting expectation", and "Developing".
Even in our graduate school, students rarely get C's nowadays. So the school policy is that a student must maintain an average grade of B. So B has effectively become the passing grade.
I'm laughing at this because of my experience with grades. I had a straight A 4.0 average in high school and it didn't amount to a hill of beans. When I went to Harvey Mudd College, I learned what it meant to be graded. Students routinely failed courses in electromagnetism there and went on to get A's at Stanford or Berkeley when they retook the course. Of course the true measure of whether grades are correct is whether students have attained a mastery of the material. In all but the rarest of exceptions nowadays, A's should not be given.
I am sure that I would disagree completely with the reasoning of those who propose this change, but, in fact, it isn't a bad idea in one sense; anyone who is successful in business knows that success rarely occurs on the first try. It is more important to look at failure for what it can teach, which is often more than what you can learn from success. In that sense, 'deferred success" can be the right attitude towards failure.
You're absolutly right, in one sense. But saying that means nothing if you don't understand what it means and learn from it. I don't know about others, but the WORST thing that could happen to me back then was to hand my parents a report card with a big fat red F on it. That is a hell of a deterrent and thankfully I only had to do that once in school, even then it was a D.
P.S. I spent an hour on my knees on our brick fireplace for that D, I made damn sure never to do that again.
The term "deferred success" sounds too much like "if the kid doesn't get it eventually, we'll just lower the standards." I think "fail" is a perfectly acceptable word given that the student has not succeeded in developing an understanding of the material in the given amount of time. It's not as if we have kids that sit around and work out how deferring their success in a subject will fit into their five year plan.
I have also felt the jolt of really being graded (oddly enough, it was in my electromagnetism course). After the initial shock of not getting an A for half-assed work, I had the time of my life having to work for my grade.
I see that the comments so far reflect some of my own thoughts. Yes, of course, it is silly not to admit the reality of failure. Yes, it is a kind of new collectivist ideology to be anti-competitive and schools are the places where you find these excuses for (ahem) "ideas." And yes, there is the shallow view that "self-esteem" comes from never failing or that failing willl "damage" self-esteem. I like to point out that in baseball if you fail to hit the ball 2 times out of 3, you bat .333 and are considered a hitter. We all know that grade inflation is a problem in higher education. We all know of instances when we learned more from failing than from succeeding. A spokesman for the group said it wanted to avoid labelling children. "We recognise that children do not necessarily achieve success first time," he said. "But I recognise that we can't just strike a word from the dictionary," he said.
Sure you could. In 1984 Newspeak they could have called it unpassing. C is passing. D is unpassing. F is plusunpassing. Worst is doubleplusunpassing. It would seem to me that if they want to protect children from the harsh reality of competitive life, rather than not giving low grades, they should cease awarding higher grades. C would be the highest grade, from 70 to 100, inclusive. (Maybe we shouldn't give them ideas....)
Luke said, "Was this just being uncomfortable kneeling on bricks..."
Are you kidding, after the first half hour or so I would have prefered a wuppin to that. I was like 10 or so I think and I think by parents were coming up with more creative ways to punish me then with a belt. Sure as hell worked too.
This is exactly the kind of corruption of language that will lead to such a society, where neither positive nor negative emotions are expressed and used, because the difference is destroyed by so-called euphemisms.
Also, it is a distortion of truth, because to give someone a not-so-good, while he in truth is really bad is stupid and unhealthy to the effort of correcting the problem. If you can't assess the problem, you can't solve it. I think it is only fair to show people that they have a long road to go to be better, or at least to show them that they have to do something or they will be very sorry at the end.
I always had an F in vocabulary test in French (mostly because I am bad at writing correctly (due to an illness)), but I stand for it, because I know that I have done nothing to deserve any better. Then I wrote a B+ in my high school exam test and I knew I had worked hard for it. It was all the more rewarding and I think I would not have done it, if I hadn't got the F's in the vocabulary test to show me were my problem lies.
I thought deferred success was when you got a girl to leave the party with you and one of your pissed mates turned up as you got to your car "just wanting to talk and, like, hang out, you know." (Edited by Andrew Bates on 7/28, 8:43pm)
While Max immediately thought of 1984 and "NewSpeak", what immediately came to my mind in this story was a belief in magic words. Words mean particular things, but it is possible to give them more power than they actually possess, as in this case.
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