Allow students to fix that C to an A!
My daughter was crying after school. She had flubbed her math test. Math was her favorite subject in middle school. Now, she hates math. How did it come to this?
She couldn’t even get a look at her test after it was graded. The teacher said the question would leak out and they wouldn’t be able to use it for subsequent years! Did my daughter fail because she didn’t understand a concept or was it because of a careless mistake? I wouldn’t know and more importantly she didn’t know - how was she to learn from her mistakes?
We are stuck in an education system that focuses on judging students instead of inspiring and motivating them to learn more
Why not allow students to fix their mistakes before they are given a final grade? Think of giving a test as just the start of the learning process, rather than the end. Allow students to have as many re-dos as they need to, in order to gain mastery.
It's not about giving everyone a participation trophy. Some students may be perfectly content with that initial C grade. It's about consequences and accountability. It’s not about coddling our kids. It's about teaching grit and conscientiousness. It’s not about nagging our kids “you have to work hard”. It’s about giving them real world opportunities to do that and experiencing the intrinsic rewards of mastery.
Video games show the way. I don’t know how many runs I’ve made trying to get that power moon in Super Mario Odyssey. I feel no shame when my Mario fails (again). Instead, I’m just motivated to pick my Mario up and try again. And with each new attempt, I try hard to avoid my past mistakes - I’m learning! And when I finally get that last coveted moon - oh the sense of achievement and mastery!
In writing, we learn that editing is just as important as the initial writing process. We are taught to rewrite a sentence or paragraph in a way that is more effective. Why shouldn't editing be taught in other subjects such as math, sciences and engineering?
Just because a question has a perfect answer, doesn’t mean that a student will arrive at this perfect answer immediately. If we embrace that, just as in writing, arriving at the right answer is an iterative process, with “errors” or misconceptions made along the way, perhaps learning could be less anxiety-filled and actually happen faster?
“To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just re-do it, re-do it, re-do it" ~Kevin Kelly
It is through deliberate practice that we learn to gain mastery, And deliberate practice is all about learning through our mistakes.
So, educators, when giving out the next test, please think of it as just the start of the learning process and not the end. After grading a test, give students ample opportunities to fix their mistakes. Deepen their interest by offering similar questions to the ones they erred to make sure they are on the path to mastery.
Allow students to fix that C to an A!
Thanks to Neilda Pacquing Gagné for this spiky point of view!
> that focuses on judging students instead of inspiring and motivating them to learn more
Strong agree about this.
Though I wonder whether is because the teachers themselves are judged by KPIs 🤔
At least this is true in the education system in my country.
maybe there's a goldilocks zone where there's just enough judgement (regardless of teachers or students) to maintain minimum standards of accountability while allowing enough space for inspiration to take place organically
Reminds me of some old proverb about pulling plants to help them grow faster being counterproductive
sorry to hear about you daughter's incident.
Elon is sponsoring a new school system, worth checking out https://www.synthesis.com
Also you might find interesting this article https://erikhoel.substack.com/p/why-we-stopped-making-einsteins