“Incessant testing and grading and criticism keep you in a chronic probationary state that breeds low self-esteem.”
–James Moffett & Betty Jane Wagner, Student-Centered Language Arts K-12
Based on The Student-Centered Classroom
We should be concerned about the many students who have been categorized as “behind” because of “COVID learning loss.” The words educators use to describe students have an enormous impact on how they see themselves. Fall 2021 is a time like no other in recent history when we can lift up students or limit them based on how they were able to navigate an unforeseen and incredibly challenging year of education. This is a time when rigid adherence to standardized testing policies and grading practices could have a lasting negative impact on how our students see themselves and on the role they expect school to play in their lives.
Evaluate each student’s unique progress toward achievement of learning goals
Think about a student who has stayed engaged with learning and grown intellectually and emotionally in consequence. Think about a student who has used this increasingly mature sense of understanding to help siblings and friends engage in learning. Think about this same student receiving grades of C and D. Educators need to read between the lines. This is a time when it is crucial to get to know each student as a whole person and to evaluate each student’s unique progress toward the achievement of important learning goals. If there was ever a time to be wary of standardized tests and averaged grades on one-size-fits-all assignments, this is that time.