mistakes must be a part of the process

The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom | Edutopia:
"Embracing such an ideology also means, to circle back, that the emphasis in schools must be on the process of learning, not solely the results. I know this is difficult in our country now, particularly when so much stress is put on standardized tests -- which are all about results and not exploring different ideas -- as a way to measure the success of both teachers and children." 
It is grading that restricts the ability of kids in schools to try things and fail or discover they dislike them or just experiment and enjoy the process.  This is one of the fundamental reasons why grading is an issue: it literally reduces learning. The immense pressure grading puts on students and teachers by grading everything constantly could be changed and that alone could transform many learners and many schools.

Grading is everywhere and constant. From quizzes to tests to standardized tests to exit exams and then other exams. It is used in primary grades and upper grades. It is used for behavioral manipulation ("helping learn") to assessment to long-term credential management. It is punitive and hopelessly flawed. It greatly restricts the curriculum and methods. It wastes enormous amounts of a teacher's time. It greatly reduces the quality of the relationship between teacher and student. It is invasive and inappropriate developmentally.
Zach Weiner, SMBC

End Credential Manufacture: Let Students Choose Their Focus
Any grading alters the learning but massive and constant grading, in the name of a defunct behavioral psychology, annihilates learning and trivializes time and effort. We cannot move toward valuing the learning process until we stop grading and make spaces for learning: it really is that simple. Grading is part of manufacturing a person with a standard credential. If we were not manufacturing credentials, grades would be meaningless, except when applying to external programs. And that would mean that schools could provide more and students could engage in a much, much wider variety of activities and classes.

Grading is not necessary. Homeschoolers preparing for college study subjects they target as necessary to the college they are pursuing. And since they have the ability to choose when to "go on the record," learners have much more freedom and can make mistakes that do not penalize them. Students and families would need ongoing counseling to provide knowledge of and access to credentials of all sorts.

For example, my oldest took an online class for Algebra II that was not a good fit. She didn't like it and after a month or two, she switched to using a textbook to study from. Her transcript showed Algebra II but not the dropped class. There was no penalty for a mistake or a poor fit. This is impossible in a public high school. Students have no choices and are always on the record and therefore can never make a mistake, change a class, or try something else. There can be no mistakes and no changes. It is a manufacturing process driven by standards instead of a learning environment driven by learners with knowledge of possible goals.

Credentials are a huge issue and there are many problems out there. The major one, in my view, is that we now allow employers to require a BA when there is no public, free path to a BA. That is a separate issue and one I follow here. But opening schools up to learning and choice means separating the credential from the school. This approach would allow learners to make mistakes, explore and grow and make schools far more focused on learning.

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