April 3, 2011

What Does an A Look Like?

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:21 am by profart

Ever have a question that pops up, and throws up a huge red flag? Increasingly over the past, oh, six semesters, I have been asked to “show us what an A looks like” for a variety of assignments.

I need to find a good answer for this question. Something akin to the Buddha’s answer of “that is not an edifying question.”

The whole attitude is wrong. Students are searching for formulas to fill in instead of working to learn and express their understanding of material. I can almost guarantee you, if you are filling in a form instead of being concerned about content, you are doing, at best, C-level work. It is adequate. Nothing more.

Higher Education teeters at the very edge of mediocrity at regular intervals in the growth and life of academia. The more we try to standardize– curriculum, teaching, testing, students– the closer we stand to the brink. If you train children to standardize, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to be creative and thoughtful. They simply do not have the skills to analyze and synthesize. They are so concerned about the box, they forget the contents have any meaning at all.

Standardized students need more crutches to get through the work, and get irked when they are expected to create those crutches for themselves. Want a “study guide”? That’s what you take notes for. What does an ‘A’ look like? Well, commonly, it has two lines inclined to an angle,and a horizontal connecting them about 1/3 the height of the lines.