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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler Creating a Culture of Growth! (no – not bacteria)

  • Creating a Culture of Growth! (no – not bacteria)

    Posted by Holly Blahun on February 2, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    With students in-school, mixed, or online, I’ve really noticed the mindset is “to get 100%” (or the highest mark possible) rather than “to develop skills.” This has become even more apparent on assignments and tests submitted online, where students easily have the opportunity to access answers to questions that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to complete. There are apps out there (Photomath and Microsoft Math, to name a few) that do the work for the students and explain the steps; handy for learning purposes – a nightmare when it comes to evaluation.

    Students (and their parents – and maybe even some admin), in general, are more concerned with getting good grades than the learning process and are completely out of tune with the fact that good grades go hand-in-hand with a student who has taken the time to develop the skills. I would be a much happier camper if everyone could get on board with good grades as a consequence of hard work – rather than the end all be all goal.

    Out with the performance-obsessed! In with the resilient problem-solvers!

    sativa epperson replied 2 years, 1 month ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Kyle Pearce

    February 8, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    This is a very common struggle and unfortunately, we (the “system”) has perpetuated this “mark getting” mentality over pushing to learn something new. Young students are naturally curious and then we evaluate – way too early in life – and crush those inquisitive minds.

    I’m wondering what thoughts you have on how you plan to start taking a bite out of this problem? Have you checked out the Assessment for Growth course yet?

    • Holly Blahun

      February 8, 2021 at 8:40 pm

      No I haven’t checked out the course yet, but attended your session during the summit this year! I will add it to my to-do list.

      I saw something recently about marking students based on their performance of outcomes, creating a scale of proficiency for each outcome, rather than assigning grades based on correctness of assignments and tests. I love the idea, and think this is how students should be assessed (in a perfect world), but am scared off by the time it will take to implement – at first, and on an on-going basis. I worry that reviewing every question for every student to see if they’ve improved on that skill will take up more time that I have to spare. And I’m not sure that I am completely in love with our program of studies outcomes either.

      • Kyle Pearce

        February 9, 2021 at 6:51 am

        I’d definitely recommend diving into that course. Lots of ideas to consider as well as first step options!

  • Brent Sturtevant

    February 21, 2021 at 6:25 am


    I totally agree with your post. I feel that the mentality is all about getting the A. One of my team members and I discuss this issue all the time. We can’t stand the honor roll – in almost every email or conversation the object of the parent is for the student to reach this goal – it then caries to the student as they start believing in that same goal. Both of us also don’t like the concept of report cards – I feel it is such an outdated process and why do we need to share reports on a quarterly basis when grades can be scene instantly online. I feel there are other issues as well but those are the main ones.

    Over the years I have changed my practices as I let students constantly retake assessments until they get a good grade (this has helped) but I am looking into alternate forms and have started taking “Assessment to Growth” as suggested by Kyle.

    Some things that I am doing this year is having students create a portfolio for a section and then I in the process of creating team challenges. If interested I can share at a later time to let you know how it is going. If you any other ideas or insight I would love to hear it.

    Thanks for posting this topic as it is so true.

    Stay well.


    • Kyle Pearce

      February 21, 2021 at 6:46 am

      Portfolios are a great way to build towards the goal being more understanding vs grades.

      As for test retakes – that can be a slippery slope depending on how it is implemented. The assessment course dives into this, so let us know your thoughts when you get there!

    • sativa epperson

      February 22, 2021 at 6:55 pm

      I would love to hear more about your team challenges! My middle school kids love friendly competition. I would be interested in hearing more if you have time to share!