But I must confess that I am amazed, in this day of excellent assessment PD available everywhere, to still see some teachers “averaging marks”!
Out at an activity with my kids this afternoon, I watched a teacher who often does his marking in the waiting area hold his clipboard in one hand and a calculator in the other, and repeatedly punch in a row of 10-12 numbers and then jot down something – presumably the average of every mark he had collected on the kid since Sept – in the margin next to each name.
It was reminiscent of my first year of teaching over a decade ago, and it made me cringe.
Heaven forbid the kid had a rough start to the school year – those three assignments from September and October are going to cost him no matter how hard he worked in November, December and this past week at school!!! Or what a bout the student who just didn’t "get it" then, but now – thanks to your fabulous teaching, and her growing brain – she has demonstrated a marked improvement in her understanding of a concept? Oops, too bad: those Ds and Cs from the start of the school year will drag down the more recent and consistent string of B+s when you average them in with your nifty little calculator!
I wanted to scream at this guy, shake some sense into him – USE YOUR HEAD, MAN!
Alas, he was a stranger to me, not some eager teacher sitting in one of my assessment workshops listening to me preach about triangulation of data or “more recent and most consistent” or the value of specific anecdotal, descriptive comments, and dismiss meaningless, isolated numbers or letter grades on a page.
And so, I had to let him carry on, calculator in hand.
I bet he uses a red pen to mark, too!