Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Don’t Count on Grading, Ranking Educational Quality | radical eyes for equity

Don’t Count on Grading, Ranking Educational Quality | radical eyes for equity:

Don’t Count on Grading, Ranking Educational Quality

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Having been a long-time advocate for and practitioner of de-testing and de-grading the classroom, I also reject the relentless obsession of mainstream media to grade and rank educational quality among states as well as internationally (see Bracey and Kohn).
As Kohn recognizes: “Beliefs that are debatable or even patently false may be repeated so often that at some point they come to be accepted as fact.”
And thus, with the monotonous regularity and mechanical lack of imagination of a dripping faucet, Education Week once again trumpets Quality Counts.
Like a college course no one wants to register for, Quality Counts 2017 gives the nation a C while no state makes an A or an F.
The appeal of all this much ado about nothing includes:
  • The U.S. has a perverse obsession with quantification that is contradicted by a people who are equally resistant to science and expertise.
  • People love the overly simplistic use of charts and interactive maps.
  • These grades and rankings always confirm the enduring narrative that public schools are failing.
However, the real problem is not how states and the nation rank, but that we persist at the grading and ranking as if that process reveals something of importance (it doesn’t) or as if that process somehow is curative (it isn’t).
How, then, does grading and ranking educational quality fail us?
  • As with regularly changing standards and high-stakes testing as part of accountability, grading and ranking educational quality is part of the larger failure of imagination, a belief in doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Media have been grading and ranking for decades, and the narrative of failing schools has continued; in other words, this process has no positive impact on education reform—but it feeds a media and social need to bash public schooling.
  • Anything can be quantified and ranked, and the statistics needed to quantify and rank are necessarily what drive both; thus, A-F grades and Don’t Count on Grading, Ranking Educational Quality | radical eyes for equity:


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