Authentic Alternatives to Accountability and Standardization
Edited By Joe Bower and Paul L. Thomas
Introduction: An Unexamined Pedagogy Harms
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An Unexamined Pedagogy Harms
Frankly, I was surprised Paul Thomas and Joe Bower asked me to write this introduction to the new edition of De-Testing and De-Grading Schools. I spend considerable time training educators on the merits, ethics, and practicalities of standards-based assessment and grading. It seemed I perpetuated at least some of the very thing this book advises against.
Then I took a step back and recognized that I’m a big fan of Mark Barnes and his latest book, Assessment 3.0, which describes the research and classroom realities for students whose teachers stop grading their work, and of his Facebook community, “Teachers Throwing Out Grades.” Todd Farley’s book, Making the Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry, is one of the most upsetting books for education I’ve ever read, and I recommend it to everyone in the profession. I also look forward to every time I read the works of Alfie Kohn, Steve Krashen, Diane Ravitch, and the late Grant Wiggins and Gerald Bracey. I know Paul and Joe from past experiences as well, and I respect their work and writings very much.
In addition, early in every training on assessment and grading that I do, I remind participants of the bigger picture: In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have grades. I explain how they limit learning, are really nonsense symbols giving us a false sense...
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