Driving is fun. Flying is scary. Both vehicles (automobiles and airplanes) are complex machines that require training and multiple gauges on their dashboards to assist in effective operation. Would you feel more or less confident traveling on an airplane with one single gauge? (How could the engineers and pilots even contemplate narrowing it down to a single gauge? – That’s crazy!)
The human brain and the process of learning are much more complex than these machines, yet in schools we mostly measure learning with a single gauge dashboard. For most, but not all, that measure is a numerical grade. (That’s crazy, too!) (Or lazy?)
Limits of Single Gauge Learning Dashboards
- Grades only give quantitative information. What qualitative data is missing?
- What exactly is the number measuring? What does it actually reveal about learning? (Mastery of learning outcomes? Participation? Homework Completion? Higher order thinking?
- What additional information could be received from other gauges that would increase learner engagement and effective learning?
- Are numerical grades a measure ‘of’ learning or ‘for’ learning?
- Why do we continue to put so much weight and credibility into a single number to represent all learning, growth, and achievement? We would never settle for a single gauge dashboard in other arenas of life (finances, health, travel, etc.)
It seems so obvious that educators could and should be using multi-gauge dashboards to measure student learning. What are some ways you and your team are working to ‘expand the learning measures’?
Expanding the Measures of Learning