A recent article by Michael Horn of the Christensen Institute reviews the problem with teachers being both evaluators and facilitators of student learning. Excerpts from the piece appear below:
In her bestselling book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Stanford professor Carol Dweck wrote, “When teachers are judging [students], [they] will sabotage the teacher by not trying. But when students understand that school is for them-a way for them to grow their minds-they do not insist on sabotaging themselves.”
Why would students ever get the impression that their teachers are judging them? Oh right. Because their teachers are responsible for grading them-which involves judging how well they have done in a subject.
As Diane Tavenner wrote in her recent book, “Prepared,” “Teachers have two jobs that are in opposition to each other. On the one hand, they are responsible for students’ learning…. Their second responsibility is ensuring students’ grades show what the student has done, and that they grade their student in a fair and ethical way.”
So what to do about it?
In higher education, Western Governors University has illuminated one pathway forward. As described in a piece for Education Next, the University maintains a separate staff of impartial assessment faculty whose sole job is to evaluate student work and determine whether students have mastered required competencies to graduate.
The faculty and coaches are able to do everything they can to support and advocate for the students in an effort to help them attain mastery of different concepts and skills—and make progress in life.