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Picture of Kalleh
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Today there was an article in the Tribune about how words fail in assessing students' abilities, from the perspectives of teachers. He talks about the euphemisms that are used for students, such as "struggling," "slow," and "weak" - because we can't use words, he says, like "stupid" or "dumb as a brick." He goes on to say how useless many of these words are. For example, about "slow:"
quote:
I taught a student, Roberto, who quite literally thought slowly. Lectures whizzed past him, and my homework assignments overwhelmed him. “After an hour and a half, I just go to bed,” he explained to me once, handing in another incomplete assignment. “It would take me two or three hours to finish.”
The work he’d done was excellent, his reasoning beautiful and precise. He was plenty intelligent—just slow.
So my question, can't we just describe these students with sentences, instead of one word?
 
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We could, and almost certainly do. However, a one-word label is useful, and in some instances (on a teacher's spreadsheet/database showing how well their students are doing for instance) desirable.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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When I used to evaluate my nursing students, I would write paragraphs and not one-word spreadsheet entries. But it might be different for primary and secondary education.

So, arnie, what are some of those spreadsheet words? I could see "bright," but the opposite ("dull") would seem a bit harsh.
 
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I could see "bright," but the opposite ("dull") would seem a bit harsh.

That's what the article is about. Teachers don't seem to worry about giving students positive labels but are more loath to use a pejorative word.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I know that was what the article was about - but I wondered what words you see on your spreadsheets. It was those kinds of words the article was looking for.
 
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I don't know. We don't have access to that level of information.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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The question is becoming moot in today's data-driven educational system. A test-score will do.

In the US educational era with which I am most familiar (1990-2005), a student such as Arnie describes would probably have been labeled ADD in the '90's ('distraction' being considered the cause of poorly-understood non-conformities), soon to be replaced with 'LD [NOS]'. By the time my eldest graduated h.s., the latest refinement in SpEd testing used a phrase: "40-pt discrepancy between IQ and processing speed".
 
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Well, when my kids were in school, which wasn't that long ago, they had 1-page written reports. There were some test scores, but they were integrated with the teacher evaluations, which were a whole lot more than one word.
 
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Teachers all know that single word descriptive labels aren't a good thing but they are a necessary thing. The labelling would be bad if that was all there is but it isn't, is it? Any school kid has a file full of written reports but the short descriptions are like the current balance on your bank statement. There is a ton of other information about payments in and out but the important bit of information is what's left in now.
That's how it is with this kind of reporting.
The detailed information is there if you want it but the bottom line is that label. It has to be that way,
If there are ten classes of thirty that's three hundred students.
If you need to do an analysis of how a whole school year is doing it would be impossible to sift through three hundred reports written by ten different teachers and reach a meaningful conclusion in a sensible time.

I'm accutely aware of this problem at the end of my school year. This year my workload is lighter - I only have 1100 students! I only have to write end of year comparative reports on the classes (currently 19) and I find it hard to do it in a meaningful way. Imagine how it would be to write a report - even just a few sentences - on each one such that if another teacher reads a few they will be able to draw sensible statistical conclusions.

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Well, if you say it that way, I guess the one-word description here in the U.S. then is the grade. Grades are big here. My kids had A+, A, A-, and so on. It's just that there wasn't an F+ or an F-. Wink

[corrected typo]

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There have been a few students who I thought should get a G or an H.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I got a couple of Zs for sleeping in class.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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We can use sentences for sure.Single words can kill a student's morale shattering them mentally which would deteriorate results.When we have a detailed report, we can track the student's progress more effectively by suggesting remedies for the bottlenecks.That is what we do here in India.
Its a simple logic.
"A D or F" grade can tell the performance level only.They can't get you to know about the specific blockages to act and remove. Sentences are always welcome
 
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Welcome, buildvocab!
What language(s) do you speak?
 
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