Grading time brings a burst of ‘motivation’

At the end of the semester, “motivation” soars. High school teachers get heartfelt pleas from two groups of students: those who are failing and really want to pass, and those who are earning A-s and really want As instead. “What can I do?” both groups ask. “I’ll do anything!” The first group – the kids…

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How badly do you want the answers?

You have just taken a five-question quiz. Now you have a choice: I will either tell you the right answers, or I will give you a candy bar and not tell you the right answers. Which would you choose? According to Dan Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, what you think you would do and what you…

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Wrapping up NeverBore’s first semester

For my final post of 2015, I want to provide updates on a few of the pieces I’ve written this fall. I have enjoyed writing and reflecting on my 20+ years in the classroom, and I look forward to making the blog and website even better in the new year. Thanks for reading! Re-learning that…

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Grades: Not the motivation we want

If the question is “Do rewards motivate students?” the answer is, “Absolutely, they motivate students to get rewards.” – Alfie Kohn Last week, after several days spent learning about operant conditioning and behaviorism, my AP Psych students read Alfie Kohn’s 1994 article, “The Risks of Rewards.” In this article, Kohn argues that rewards are as…

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Would you give out all As?

What would happen this year if I tossed out all of my rubrics, test scores and grading scales and just granted As to all of my students? Would my classroom become a utopia, where students — free from the rat-race of chasing grades — would engage in learning for the pure love of it? Or…

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Who taught you to write tests?

Can a test capture how well you understand something? I’m not talking about the massive standardized tests that are making us crazy right now. Just the humble classroom test, written by a teacher to evaluate how well a student is doing in class. The kind of test that forms a grade, then a transcript. Then…

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