Rethinking Homework Surveys

Rethinking Homework Surveys It’s not uncommon for schools to distribute surveys to parents in an effort to learn more about families’ experiences with homework.  While it might be even more helpful to ask the students themselves, it’s always commendable when someone wants to check out how a policy is affecting those on the receiving end.  Unfortunately, what’s most striking about … Read More

Grade Inflation Sources

Grade Inflation Sources ARE GRADES ACTUALLY GOING UP?   College — Clifford Adelman, “A’s Aren’t That Easy,” New York Times, May 17, 1995, p. A19 – describes a five-year study of “the records of 21,000 students from more than 3,000 universities, community colleges, and trade schools” that found “grades actually declined slightly in the last two decades.”  Original source:  The New College Course … Read More

References and Resources

References and Resources The “five fatal flaws” of the Tougher Standards movement are adapted from Alfie Kohn’s book THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE, from which a shorter book called THE CASE AGAINST STANDARDIZED TESTING has been spun off. You may also be interested in a list of his essays about standards and testing. Other resources: Books about testing by various writers: — Daniel … Read More

Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education (CARE)

Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education (CARE) A CALL FOR AN AUTHENTIC STATE-WIDE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM   Education Reform in Massachusetts began with high hopes. As educators, parents, and citizens, we believe those hopes have been eroded by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests. These tests have disrupted our classrooms and schools and diverted valuable resources away from efforts that … Read More

Practical Strategies to Save Our Schools

Practical Strategies to Save Our Schools Whenever something in the schools is amiss, it makes sense to work on two tracks at once: protect students from the worst effects in the short term and work to change or eliminate that policy in the long term. Let’s begin with some short-term responses where testing is concerned: First, teachers should do what … Read More

Florida’s A+ Plus Plan for Education

After Gulf Gate Elementary School in Florida received an “A” in the Florida school grading system, six teachers and the principal decided to return to the governor the amount of bonus money they would have received. Here is the position paper they submitted to explain why. Florida’s A+ Plus Plan for Education: The Misuse of the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test and … Read More

The Case Against “Tougher Standards”

The Case Against “Tougher Standards” By Alfie Kohn People who talk about educational “standards” use the term in different ways. Sometimes they’re referring to guidelines for teaching, the implication being that we should change the nature of instruction — a horizontal shift, if you will. (In the case of the standards drafted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics … Read More

Grit: A Skeptical Look at the Latest Educational Fad (##)

INDEPENDENT SCHOOL Fall 2014 GRIT A Skeptical Look at the Latest Educational Fad By Alfie Kohn This article is adapted from The Myth of the Spoiled Child, which contains references to the relevant research. A new idea is hatched; it begins to spread; it catches on; it inspires a flurry of books and articles, conferences and seminars.  And then it fades away.  … Read More

Whom We Admit, What We Deny

INDEPENDENT SCHOOL Winter 2012 Whom We Admit, What We Deny The Meaning of Selective Admissions By Alfie Kohn                                                      “Send us winners and we’ll make winners out of them.”                                                                                                             — James Moffett What does it mean when a school, having rejected a child who applied for admission, explains that he or she just “isn’t a good fit” (or “match”) … Read More

Schooling Beyond Measure (##)

EDUCATION WEEK September 19, 2012 Schooling Beyond Measure By Alfie Kohn [This is a slightly expanded version of the published article.] As we tend to value the results of education for their measurableness, so we tend to undervalue and at last ignore those results which are too intrinsically valuable to be measured. — Edmond G. A. Holmes, chief inspector of … Read More