(Natural News) The leftist ‘woke’ nonsense of bringing “equity” — not the same thing as “equality” — to more institutions of higher learning in the name of enhancing “diversity” is going to mean big-time failure for those students and the country as a whole.
And yet, more of these institutions are rushing to do so, not giving serious thought to the consequences for the very students they seek to help. Nowhere is this lunacy more prevalent than in Democrat-run California.
“Inside some University of California academic departments and colleges, an atypical idea is gaining steam: deemphasizing, or even ditching, the A-F grading system and rethinking how to assess student learning,” KQED reported last week.
“Divisions like UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry and UC Davis’s Department of Mathematics are deliberating whether to change how they grade students. In some cases, that means awarding students a pass or no-pass grade rather than a letter grade,” the report continued. “Other times, it may mean allowing students to choose which assignments get the most weight in determining their grade.”
Academic Senate leaders at UC Irvine, for instance, are presently analyzing long-term options regarding grading, having also met with officials at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where students already do not receive letter grades but rather are judged ‘pass-fail’ for their first semester, in order to learn about that university’s system.
Meanwhile, other UC campus departments are also tinkering with changes in how students are tested and assessed, putting less focus on “high-stakes exams” because some students may not be good test-takers (but then they’re expected to perform in high-stress real-life work situations?) but can supposedly demonstrate a commanding knowledge of the materials in other ways.
Some of the university system’s departments are already using what are known as two-stage exams: Students are required to take a standard individual test before taking another with a group where they are expected to work through problems with other students.
“The changes are especially being considered for first-year students to give them more time to get used to the rigors of college work and learn the material over the course of a semester rather than discourage them early on with low scores on tests and other assignments,” KQED reported.
Jody Green, the associate vice provost of teaching and learning at UC Santa Cruz, loves the changes, arguing that letter grades (which public schools and colleges have used for more than a century) are not always indicative of whether a student has a commanding grasp of materials.
Greene said that many times grades just measure the student’s preparation to do college-level work. That may be due to the availability of more rigorous college prep courses in the student’s high school (which the far-left also wants to dumb down using ‘equity’ and ‘diversity’ policies).
A recent memo from the UC Board of Regents noted that students from under-resourced high schools may not have access to Advanced Placement courses and thus “may perform poorly on initial assignments” (but then how do they qualify to be accepted at a UC campus in the first place?). As such, those students may score well on the final exam but wind up with a substandard grade after struggling with initial course assignments.
“We will be better institutions for this,” Greene, who is also the founding director of UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning, told the outlet. “The changes that were happening in higher education at a glacial pace were put on a bullet train by COVID, and as painful as the last couple of years have been, we’re now having genuine conversations about how we can better serve the students.”
The fact is, there must be some standard of ‘grading’ students in order to incentivize them to do their very best academic work. Handing out a “pass-fail” ‘grade’ instead of a letter grade won’t do that and those students, while they may graduate college, won’t be prepared for their work life.