My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


I Can't Make This Stuff Up

Attendance never had been quite this good at Walter Johnson High School's PTA meetings. But in the fall, the monthly gatherings at the Bethesda campus began attracting about 100 people -- almost five times the usual number.

The reason was simple: This school year, Walter Johnson became one of two high schools in Montgomery County to begin grading its students using a system that emphasized academic achievement over participation. It also began to frown on giving students extra credit for such nonacademic pursuits as covering their books or bringing in canned goods for the annual holiday food drive.

Wow. And here in Colorado we spend more time worrying about the CSAP than doing just about anything else. All in all, I think I'd prefer our way of doing things than this.

You know that the left had to have a few last bastions of lib-think in academia. In this case, lib-think would be characterized by an emphasis on "discovery," on "learning to co-exist," and on things that cannot be evaluated on an objective set of criteria, which would render it nearly impossible to end up being critical of the student. That, of course, might hurt their self-esteem.

The changes are part of an overall effort to make grades in the 140,000-student system a better measure of academic -- and only academic -- achievement, and they put Montgomery at the forefront of a handful of school systems nationwide that are trying to change the way they teach and test students. While many of the systems have established new standards and testing, few have changed the way they grade. . .

Under a standards-based system, such as the one in place in Montgomery, the goal is to boost achievement by raising expectations for all students. Youths are evaluated on how they measure up to a set of absolute standards, rather than being graded on how their achievement compared with that of their classmates.

What's notable here is not necessarily the story itself; it's that this story RATES a story in the Washington Post. As if raising expectations and grading objectively were some radical new approach.

And you were worried that the American education system was failing. . .

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