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Topic: group projects
Replies: 10   Last Post: Mar 30, 1995 4:58 PM

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Eileen Abrahamson

Posts: 85
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: group projects
Posted: Mar 30, 1995 9:31 AM
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> I think all of us need to
>somehow set the "conditions of success" for our students so that they
>sometimes work without being graded. I have the most trouble with
>students straight out of high school who are so grade oriented and
>motivated that they have no concept of learning without some prospect of
>a grade on their work.High school students who have had
>every assignment evaluated for a
>grade sometimes go into a deathspin when they realize that they have to
>motivate themselves to learn without daily grades to kick them in the rear!
>Group work and grading should follow the moderation principle:
>everything in moderation, including moderation.


I agree that students need to become more reflective and analytical in
making judgements about their own learning! It is the only way that we as
educators will create a desire for, and ability to become, life-long

I am particularly conscious of this in the elementary school. My students
come from third grade classrooms where every breath they take is graded. I
have had to work for most of the year to get students to evaluate their own
progress. They are, in actuality, the only people that truly know whether
they have learned or not. They need to insist that changes take place in
their own knowledge base and take responsibility to insure that they are
truly learning. This requires some skills of self evaluation, and
realistic goal setting. Students who can self evaluate and set realistic
learning goals are on the road to life long learning.

I have worked hard to help my 28 students develop these skills. I had the
students lead their parent conferencesthis year for the first time. They
spent the time going over their self evaluations, and setting goals for the
rest of the school year. It is the ultimate method for insuring that
individual differences are respected. Also, I think you would be amazed at
how truthful the students are about their own learning and areas which
require extra effort.

The small "teacher as researcher" experiment that I have been conducting
regarding grades in this classroom has demonstrated that grades are
actually inhibitors of learning.(I realize that this is a narrow sample,
but would be interested in some serious research that studies the effect of
grade on student initiative and learning.)

Students who achieved high grades initially in this experiment, lessen
their effort. Students who achieved lower grades initially, even though
they were given clear guidelines as to how to increase their grade,
maintained these low grades without additional effort. These same
students, when given the opportunity to determine their learning goals and
evaluate progress toward these goals, were motivated to make learning

Perhaps grading is not an appropriate discussion for this forum, however, I
am increasingly aware, that we are continuing a process of evaluating
progress that actually appears to have no research to support its
contentions that it increases student learning.


Eileen Abrahamson
Edw. Neill Elemetary
13409 Upton Ave. So.
Burnsville, MN 55337

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