Mediocre students make the “good effort” honor list

ebrown p
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 03:07 pm
the purpose of grading is to indicate to the student, the teacher and the parents where the student is mastering the material and where more attention (be that more student effort, more teacher focus or more parental encouragement) is required.

In that case, what is the purpose of honor roll?

And... if the goal is to indicate mastery... should the student who masters the material without doing many of the assignments get an 'A'? (If this is the case, then then I was cheated when I got a poor grade in my computer programming class, since I was writing video games on my own while I was in the class.)

Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 09:12 pm
@ebrown p,
There is no purpose to the honor role other than to recognize accomplishment and I don't see any problem with doing that. I've never considered the honor role as a form of motivation and I've never heard someone say I'm going to work really hard to make the honor role, although I'm sure it happens on occasion. If your point is that grades and the honor role are not good motivators, I'm with you. My point is that they aren't intended to be.

As long as you demonstrate mastery of the material, you can get the A even if you sleep through class, but demonstrating mastery means doing the assignments. I suppose each teacher could let each student demonstrate the mastery in a unique way, but that seems impractical for a teacher with 100+ students. Asking students to demonstrate mastery in a manner prescribed by the teacher doesn't seem unreasonable even if it isn't optimal for every student.
Reply Mon 26 Jul, 2010 01:39 pm
There is no purpose to the honor role other than to recognize accomplishment


And, in a school setting, the primary accomplishments you recognize are academic.

And, for that reason, the whole idea of a "good effort" honor roll seems meaningless. Effort should be expected from everyone. Those on the regular honor roll presumably put in good effort as well. This seems like a consolation prize without much substance.

Some children are academically more proficient, some children are better at other things, such as sports. Do we give consolation prizes to all the children who couldn't make the team or aren't the sports stars? The "good effort" basketball team?

Rather than create a public list to try to protect people from feeling mediocre, it is far better to just acknowledge reality--some people are better than others at certain things.

Let teachers and parents focus on rewarding what each child is good at, in a much more individualized way. Why can't the parent or teacher find some way of rewarding that particular child's good effort, or helpfulness, or consideration, or progress in learning or doing something. The teacher can do it with just written feedback on tests or papers. A parent can do it in a more personal and meaningful way. But it seems to me that that sort of recognition, from the people who really matter in the child's life, is much more important than putting a name on a list of anything.
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