Exams, Grades, and Marks Miss the Point

This spoken word artist captures what is wrong with education today.

Suli Breaks really makes some great points in that piece. .

I especially like what he has to say about timelines. We have artificial deadlines in school and some students truly need more time to complete a task. I shared a video a few weeks back that dealt with that same topic in comparison to skateboarding. It’s another brilliant video on education that I highly recommend.

I also don’t put any stock into standardized one-size fits all testing. I don’t think school should be about marks at all. I think we need better ways to motivate and celebrate learning and accomplishment in school.

While I agree with most of the thins Suli Breaks has to say in this video, there are a few points I need to argue.

I really believe that mathematics teach us a lot more than equations and theories. Sure, we may never use a particular advanced math skill in our entire lives, but some of us might. You can never know for sure where life is going to take you.

That being said, I can honestly admit that most of us won’t use the math we were taught in school in any real and purposeful way. So why take it?

I actually have a good answer for you. Math teaches us to look at problems, to apply a variety of methods, to tackle something that isn’t inherently readable, to make sense of it, to explain it, and to communicate our understanding. These are skills that everyone uses everyday.

I agree that we can manifest these skills in other ways and that as educators we should strive to do so in our classrooms. But we don’t need to discard mathematics in our revised curriculums.

I think it behooves us all to learn about things we don’t like, to expand our knowledge and experience, to try new things, to fail, to make mistakes, to persevere, to muddle through, to succeed, to be rewarded, to work with others, and to value hard work and education. These are the things we should be seeing in schools on a daily basis.

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