On the same day that I lost an lengthy post on my experience with comprehensive assessment as a means of focusing classroom learning around the engagement of each student’s role in the group, Dave Truss used as inspiration for his post, Chasing the A, a link to an extensive student blog post: Why our education system is failing. Written in the fiery throat of youth, it is a lengthy tirade against competitive education with an emphasis placed upon the lifelong implications of bad grades:
Education is about unleashing one’s confidence. Education is learning from failure. Education is growing from experience. Education is discovering your passions then pursuing them. Education is not rote memorization. Education is not analyzing books that have no meaning to you. Education is not wasting your time on subjects you hate. Education is not being paralyzed because your afraid to fail.
In his comment to the above post, Dave makes a case for the intrinsic human compassion schools must foster is compromised in lieu of competition:
Marks seem to take our attention away from what matters. I find it funny that we can assess young kids without grades and then around Grade 3 we suddenly start indoctrinating students into the paradigm of good marks = success…. and the really important things we learn in Kindergarden about sharing, respecting and loving one another, as well as communicating how we feel and getting along with each other, suddenly takes a back seat to achieving some sort of success beyond these things that really matter.
My own remarks, as posted as a comment on Dave’s Pair-A-Dimes Blog, are these: