An innovative new approach to evaluations in education

December 4th, 2014

In education industry circles, the current buzz is all about evaluations, mostly evaluating teachers. (Yes, they’ve got to prove that they’re earning their paychecks, these slackers.)

I propose a new innovative approach to evaluation—why not evaluate students as well?

Here’s my matrix for evaluating students.

Imagine two extremes of students, one of maximum receptivity to learning and the other of maximum resistance to learning.

A student of maximum receptivity is like a sponge.

He/she’s completely open to new ideas and to teaching. They’re like the proverbial empty cup.

I’ve had a few of these students. With these students, one hour is usually not enough and the whole hour is given to lively debates and questions and answers.

And whatever you teach them, the next week, it’s all done and it’s moving on to the next piece and the next subject.

Now a student of maximum resistance is a whole different matter.

They’re a little harder to reach.

They’re the proverbial full cup. Whatever you try to pour into them just spills out onto the floor.

You’ll spend a whole hour explaining a concept and the next week, it’s almost as if you’d never said a word about it.

You’ll spend a whole hour helping them through a piece of music and the next week, you’ll have to do the whole thing over again.

The rest of the students fall in between these extremes.

In the words of bureaucrats, evaluating students provides us with measurable and quantifiable data to evaluate their relative receptivity to learning.

Those who are in the category of maximum resistance to learning will be advised of their non-performance and given the appropriate administrative reprimand—either move to the category of maximum receptivity or you’ll be terminated.

Hopefully, this will provide them with the necessary incentives to get their act together.

Evaluating students of course, does not give us teachers an excuse for poor performance on our part (yes, there are slackers in every industry).

But at least, it does not put the entire burden of education on our shoulders.

In other words, it does not turn us into natural punching bags for politicians and administrative bureaucrats looking for a few scapegoats to blame for society’s failings.

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