I recieved an A, but I failed?

In a welcomed twist to our review of educational theory on Tuesday a few folks in section 2 of EDT400 sought to deliberate on Behaviorism and specifically the issue of grading with letters and numbers as reward and punishment. Reflections on the import of grading centered on “not knowing where I was, or what my learning meant” because of assessment systems that “looked and felt” “different”. The use of “check marks” in elementary school (lasting effects!) and a high school experience at one of the most innovative schools in Maine if not New England, where letter grades and rank are not used in favor of more authentic assessment modes (see below).

Why we learn is as important as what we learn when attempting to understand educational theory, and underlying issues with teaching and learning. To this end I am very interested in this discussion. EDT 400: can you receive an A on something (a paper or in a course) and still fail? If so what does this mean for networked learning in a blended VLE such as ours? How should you be assessed? Why are you involved in the learning community? These are well worn questions and important for a course like ours to deliberate on. We seek to imagine new ways of learning at the same time old ways of learning are dominant and this is difficult. You are involved in important work.

So for those of you who are attending or participating in any learning episode for a good grade; is this all you need to advance? What do you really want out of learning? What if I were to give everyone in EDT 400 an A now? What would happen? Let me know if this is what the community wants, my ears and eyes are open.

Thursday’s Meeting

A few more considerations for our meeting on Thursday: How do the following TPCK and SAMR models square up with Constructivism and Connectivism?

TPCK – Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge – TPCK. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2011, from http://www.tpck.org/

Ruben R. Puentedura’s Weblog: As We May Teach: Educational Technology, From Theory Into Practice. (n.d.). Hippasus. Retrieved February 02, 2011, from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/000025.html

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  • "What do you really want out of learning? What if I were to give everyone in EDT 400 an A now? What would happen? Let me know if this is what the community wants, my ears and eyes are open."

    I want to be able to blog about what I find relevant to this class and then take this knowledge and share it with classmates and discuss what we find. If we were all the get an A, I think I would focus more on finding relevant information out there and less on what is the minor little details/assignments/memos I might be missing. I am focusing more on what the rubric calls for than what I want to learn and expand my knowledge in. I am concerned about the project. I have this crazy idea I want to do, but if it does not fit the rubric to a T, I find myself altering an idea that may have been more powerful before the requirements. I am really enjoying this class and exploring videos on Youtube that are about education and not Ludacris' next hit song or some dumb person fall off a ski lift. I am starting to take technology that was used for social reasons and apply them to academic reasons. :)

  • Grades seem to be nothing more than an indication of whether one passed or failed. Grades represent the quality of work one does and the amount of work. Grades however, bring along more than just these things to students.
    Personally, grades are incredibly important to me. I like receiving a good grade and the grade helps me feel better about myself and the work I did. Grades make all the work seem worth while. Yet, if someone were to just give me an 'A' with no reason or evidence of my good work, I wouldn't feel as proud about the grade. Though this class can be struggle sometimes and I wish I would just get a grade and be done, I think if I were to be just given a good grade, the grade wouldn't mean anything. I like knowing that an A means the highest of praise and I like knowing I worked for the grade. To be just given a grade is something I wouldn't accept. I want to work for my grade, but I want the grade to be graded on my efforts and attempts and achievements, especially in this course that is not self-taught, but definitely self-motivated.

  • If I were to be give an A right now, I am not going to lie, I would accept it. However, the grade would be meaningless for me, and I would be embarrassed to tell people that I got an A at the start of a class without having to do a whole lot. For me, A's mean that I have worked hard, studied hard, and put effort into a class. This A would mean that the class was easy and the instructor gave out A's easily, and that is not rewarding. I would accept it because I would be afraid of getting anything less and I would hope by the end of the class I would feel as though I deserved it. If I was given this A, I would continue to blog with pictures and videos, complete the project, tweet every so often, and the rest of the required work. This would make the A have a little more meaning for me so that I don't feel so guilty. If I attached meaning to the A, I wouldn't be so embarrassed about it or think it was given out for no reason. I could take the easy way out and accept the A, and then slack off the rest of the semester. But like I said, I like to feel rewarded and an A is a reward for working hard. In all honesty, it is just a letter, but I think I get this idea of "good job, you worked hard, so you get an A" from public school, so I have attached meaning to an A. Overall, I would accept the A and try to prove to myself that I deserve the A by keeping up with the required work, and hopefully learning along the way. I do want to point out that I think I would learn more from this class if a grade wasn't attached to my work, and I could just learn for myself, not for my GPA.

  • In theory, and literally, one can receive an "A" in a course and still fail, however, it is very personal. If the student personally "feels" that he/she should receive an "A" for absolutely absorbing everything possible from the class and gained all the possible knowledge not previously obtained. The measurement for the latter, is also very personal. No one can REALLY gauge internal successes besides one's self. Tests, quizzes and assessments are physical representations of the amount of knowledge gained in a broad subject. Grades essentially are the "key" for progressing in a certain field. They are indicators of self-motivation and integrity (all still personal of course). In EDB 221, this topic is discussed and people are in favor of one or the other arguments. It's a touchy subject because some people just like seeing and are reassured by one simple letter stating "where they stand" or how much they know. If someone gets an "A" in a class, dishonestly, then they still fail the course because they took nothing and/or gained nothing from the course, which is over all the main objective to begin with…

  • If I were given an A I would never look at the rubric again. I would stop focusing on the little things that are requirements for "good posts" and I would not watch or read the "required reading" or pay attention in class unless it is interesting. I'd skip class if I had a test coming up or if I wanted to take an extra long lunch.

    On the other hand, if I were given an A right now I would use the time that I saved from cutting out the above activities to browse more blogs that interested me. They might be on technology in education, physics or any other subject. I would comment and contact the authors and expand my network. I would spend more time on TED and watching documentaries and interviewing my professors who do research in physics education.

    So yeah, a guaranteed A would be great, but I'll get an A either way so I don't really care. The difference will be either learning what you want me to learn or what I want to learn.

  • If I received an 'A' automatically in a course, without any effort whatsoever…I would accept the grade, but feel some guilt and as if I wasted my time even signing up for the course. Students pay mass amounts of money for college courses, yes to receive a passing grade in order for the course to be counted toward their credits and GPA, but also to gain knowledge that can put to good use in their field. If they are not educated or do not have to partake in any work, the students have simply just payed 600 dollars for 3 credits and a letter grade, but no new information. To me, this is pointless. My reason for being in college is to learn much and to be prepared to educate second grade students. Just receiving 'A''s will not get me there. I believe it is the duty of the professors to supply us with the knowledge we need to succeed and our responsibility to apply that information.

    But really, if you want to give me an A…I won't fight you or anything… :)

  • Most of the time I deserve the grade I get, however there were still the teachers who expected you to only do so much for a perfect grade. So obviously there was no point to stretching beyond anything better than what was adequate. So to say that I tried my hardest in every class would be a huge overstatement.
    I took four years of Latin in high school, all of which were dreadfully painful. The first three years were measured by how well you did on assignments and tests. However our Latin teacher had been teaching at Leavitt since the beginning of 1980 and knew how difficult Latin could be and so for the senior year of Latin he would judge by how much work you put into the three years before. We still had the same work load but he weighted your grade by what grade you actually deserved rather than how well you did on the last translation.
    It's hard to actually give a grade for effort when a teacher is looking for a certain quality of work, but if it were to go to fairness to the student, then the effort is a better showing of the student then the physical grade of their work.

  • I believe that you can still receive an A for a grade and still fail. Many individuals learn information to be graded on and then once they have received their grade, the information is somewhat forgotten. This isn’t said about everyone, but I know for myself, If I’m taking a class that isn’t interesting to me, but is required for graduating, I don’t exactly put my learning “cap” on so to say. But say for classes that are specific to my major and interests me, I tend to keep the information I’ve learned in my brain. So back to the question of receiving an A, but still failed, I think this is possible and I know that if you are to receive an A, you should have earned it, which means putting time into something, thus it would be beneficial to retain what you have just learned instead of all your hard work going to waste, and not really benefiting you. What’s the point of putting time and effort into something if your just going to get a good grade but after it is given not getting anything else out of it.

  • believe that you can still receive an A for a grade and still fail. Many individuals learn information to be graded on and then once they have received their grade, the information is somewhat forgotten. This isn’t said about everyone, but I know for myself, If I’m taking a class that isn’t interesting to me, but is required for graduating, I don’t exactly put my learning “cap” on so to say. But say for classes that are specific to my major and interests me, I tend to keep the information I’ve learned in my brain. So back to the question of receiving an A, but still failed, I think this is possible and I know that if you are to receive an A, you should have earned it, which means putting time into something, thus it would be beneficial to retain what you have just learned instead of all your hard work going to waste, and not really benefiting you. What’s the point of putting time and effort into something if your just going to get a good grade but after it is given not getting anything else out of it.

  • If I were to receive an A in this class I would be very happy. After seeing an A for a grade it makes me proud that I have accomplished everything I needed to in the class and to my best potential. If I get an A, all my hard work has paid off and I realize that my professor has noticed it as well! I'm not the type of person where if I were to not receive an A I would be upset, but seeing an A definitely boosts my confidence up as a learner in my studies. Getting an A in a class can be hard and to accomplish that is a great feeling!

  • Hmmm…if you gave me an A right now…

    …First of all, I would be relieved. This class would truly be about the experience of learning new ways to learn, new ways to teach, and new ways to just spread the chance to gain knowledge for everyone. Many classes force me to do specific tasks in order to receive a grade, and I often have to focus more on doing what they want than actually learning. In this class, receiving an A right now would mean that there really isn't a certain thing I have to do to make the cut. I would feel that if I were given an A, I better do what I can to feel like I earned it! I would work to make sure that I learned enough so that I could really say I benefitted from the class. Frankly, this class to me is about learning how to pay attention to what is happening in our world and working to adapt how I teach and learn so that I can improve my being and help others do the same. So, hearing that the professor's focus wasn't about a grade, but rather the actual learning, I'd be glad to know that I can actually try to follow that focus, since it is truly considered by all to be the point of the course.

  • To be given an A in a class that I put an effort it, studied hard,took time to do the work…that would make me feel proud and to know I accomplished something and did it well. I have had classes before that were really easy and pretty much everyone received an A unless they just didn't do the work. In that case, I would really feel good about it. I took a math course last semester and I struggle with math a lot. I set out from the very beginnning to do the work and put the time and effort in. In the end, it was worth it and I received an A. I was so happy and releaved, I felt proud of myself. It was good to hear the Professor say to focus more on the learning rather then the grade. Like I said before, if you but in the effort and time but mainly focus on your learning, your grade will reflect that.

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