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Monday, January 4, 2016

Lack of Privacy With Grades in the British Classroom

Something that took me completely surprise at the Rokeby School was the complete lack of privacy with students’ grades. The first class I observed had a teacher place a breakdown of every student’s grade and where they stand in the class directly on the board. My first thought would be that some students may be embarrassed by seeing their low grades next to other students who were excelling, but actually these struggling students were turning to their classmates asking for help. A grading curve does not exist in English classrooms so the only incentive the students had to perform well on their exams was purely personal and by helping a struggling student, students who are excelling did not have to worry about where they stood on the curve. Without a curve, the atmosphere of the English classroom is not as cutthroat as some American classrooms can be. Grades are so public that the grade the student is expected to get, which is assigned by the teachers, are displayed on each student’s notebooks.

            This expected grade also splits the class into different levels. During classwork, students have the choice to tackle different tasks but are strongly recommended to work on the task that is on their level or one level higher. The levels used in instruction at the Rokeby School are incredibly similar to the idea of scaffolding. Having observed two teachers’ meetings in the humanities department, incorporating levelling in each teacher’s instruction was of utmost importance, as it works hand in hand with each student’s assigned grade.

1 comment:

  1. I'm very surprised to hear how public students' grades are at Rokeby School. It's very cool that instead of being embarrassed to see how they're doing compared to their classmates, the students collaborate. I was very surprised to hear this because instructional approaches that divide up students by learning ability, such as in your school, are largely criticized for putting the struggling students at a disadvantage. This is because superior students are typically given more challenging material, and consequently acquire more knowledge and influence in the classroom. On the other hand, students that don't perform as well tend to be less challenged and, as a result, don't improve significantly. It's very inspiring to hear that students can take the initiative to help one another. This is particularly good because students that excel in school reinforce their understanding of knowledge by explaining concepts to others, and students that struggle in school benefit considerably when given individual attention. I'm curious to know how struggling students improve throughout the school year!


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