Every college or university claims to help students succeed. But do actions align with words?
Loneliness leads to failure. Lonely students do not persist. Being alone makes a person far less likely to get good grades, stay in school, find a good job, and more. And just as we know that not every measure works for every person, success can be better predicted through non-cognitive measures than academic ones for many students.
Even how grades are generated, typically at the complete discretion of the professor, is all over the map. Some weight, some curve, some give extra credit, some inflate, some put outcomes over numeric values, some base evaluation off of a single exam, others weigh participation as heavily as course outcomes, and on and on. In other words, grades are different to almost everyone. Yet we all seem to buy into the representative nature of grading, ignoring the elephant in the room.
Having taken all manner of personality indicators, I agree with their consistent findings that people who do not perform effectively, in a collaborative fashion, nor with a proper prioritization of goals, are easily waived off in my brain as “morons.” I struggle to give second chances and I quickly look for workarounds to people and departments that appear obstructivistic regarding forward thinking initiatives, student support, or even student learning, etc.
Most companies never ask for a transcript, and for the few who do, it is only for those seeking their first job out of college. (Working inside education may be an exception.) After that, grades mean almost nothing. What companies instead seek are the things that grades, which become so easily gamed by both students and teachers, can diminish. After all, if the grade is all that matters, then trying new things and failing (actually promoting learning) will be negated. Teaching to a test, jamming information into short-term memory only to be lost a few weeks later will be the norm. Critical thinking will be lost. Problem solving based on context will be supplanted with algorithm practice absent of context.
Teaching today is far more about classroom management than it is about actually teaching leading to learning. But when you add in Common Core requirements, newly defined elements of "rigor", high stakes testing, the political and process-based rules setup by people who have often never been in a classroom, as well as the operational issues needed to organize a grouping of people, teaching and learning is often quite strangled - becoming almost impossible.
Savvy administrators now realize that placing all of the responsibility and accountability around retention on the academic offices was unfair. For too long we told students what to connect to (academics, programs, instructors, etc), instead of allowing them choices by which to connect to things that mattered to them.
I don’t want my students to say that I lecture, instruct, or profess. Those are all so unidirectional, it makes me lament. This is one of the major problems with education today – the person at the front of the classroom (and it’s almost always at the front), spewing information upon students with an expectation that they will simply soak it all up and then somehow learn. They often talk instead of listening. They seem to inform far more than creating shared meaning (leading to understanding).
Unfortunately, we have a lot of historical baggage to contend with, making real learning much harder than it needs to be. We have generations of practitioners doing the only thing they know how to do (that which was modeled by former instructors), despite so much research and evidence suggesting a major pivot is in order. But we’re getting there.