Assessment, feedback, and grading are frequently mentioned. As is essential to student learning and instructional effectiveness. Why not, then? It’s an important intersection. That needs to be talked about and looked at for ongoing improvement.
As we innovate, it’s crucial to consider how we got here. And draw inspiration from the sources of current grading. The motivations behind the current grading systems should also be noted.
Because education has always been based on knowledge exchange. Between students and teachers. Assessment has existed for generations. By methodically assessing student learning patterns to guide future teaching and learning. The assessment aims to enhance student learning.
Traditional customs started to shift in the early 19th century with the start of the Industrial Revolution. Some schools started paying teachers based on the number of students they had. Rather than a set income as piecework payments became more and more widespread.
William Farish, a tutor at Cambridge University in 1792. Developed grades as a teaching strategy that would enable him to handle more students in a shorter amount of time.
This method was an imitation of one used in factories to determine whether or not a product was “up to grade.” It served as the standard by which decisions about labor compensation and product saleability were made.
This “grading” system has numerous drawbacks. But it did raise Farish’s pay, lighten his workload, and cut down on the amount of time he had to spend in the classroom. The grading method proved to be equally effective for 200 kids as it was for 20.
Unfortunately, as Hartmann observes, the “grading system” made it harder for students whose learning preferences did not align with Farish’s more instructive, auditory lecture style of instruction.
Regardless of whether the pupils comprehended the content, this method of instruction encouraged more rote memorization that was necessary to pass assessments.
As an aim of public education, critical thinking and questioning techniques quickly lost their relevance and were forgotten. The professors’ ability to inspire students through their contagious enthusiasm for a subject was also gone.
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