The issue of students earning As is like a teeter totter, and I’m not sure which side I fall on. On the one side (teeter), an A earned on the first time around (project, speech, paper, test) means that student caught on quickly, has that skill or understands the content. This is great!
On the other side (totter), it takes some students longer than others to master skills and content. Allowing for retakes, revisions, or extra time to finish a project should cultivate a work up towards the student earning an A (theoretically); otherwise why allow retakes, revisions or more time? To master the content or skill....
My focus is to lead students to skills and content mastery. If we imagine that teachers are like wilderness guides, leading a group of adventurers through a tropical rain forest or to the summit of a mountain, we can get a better sense or picture of a teacher’s duty. A wilderness guide does not leave a portion of her adventurers behind on the mountain or in a swamp because they can’t keep up. Likewise, a teacher works with every kid to ensure that each student can reach the summit. Looking at the journey in this way, we fail as teachers when students do not get As.
What does an A even measure though? And there’s the rub. We in the field need to communicate what it means to earn an A, and whether or not that means a student gets only one chance to earn the A or whether work product can be revised until it reaches the standard of A. Thoughts? Comments?