Curriculum, data, marks, feedback or the learning process?
I am a firm believer in PBL – Problem or Project Based Learning. It’s a beautiful world down in kindergarten. Students full of joy, full of curiosity.
And then it fades.
We have conducted a gazillion surveys to students that all say the same – I begin to dislike school less and less after kindergarten until about grade 11 and 12. And I especially dislike math. So we have a hatred of math and poor math scores. Interesting.
When you step back and look at the big picture here it is obvious. Student choice. Kindergarten kids love school. They love to explore and collaborate and inquire. So do our senior high school students. They are deciding what to take and where to go next.
Why the breakdown from grades 1 through 10? I equate a great deal of it to standardized testing.
This post also comes at an interesting time. With progress reports going home soon, I wonder how many parents actually read them? Why do we still focus on that letter or number? For me, it’s about the learning process, not the final product.
With the release of Growing Success by the ministry a few years ago we were kind of given an opportunity to focus less on tests. If you read it closely, student marks are based on conversation, observation and student products. So really, ‘testing’ should only account for a third of a students’ grade – for those of you who care about grades.
If you believe, you will achieve. We need to convince students they are good mathematicians. Model that numbers are OK an patterns can be fun.
So what is the driving force and how can we change the focus?