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The Milton Measure

Letter to the Editor

by on Friday, April 14th, 2017

I write in response to the article “Imagining a Grade Inflated Paradise: What Do A’s Mean Now?” by Logan Troy published in The Milton Measure on March 31, 2017 in which the following statements were made: “But it seems that even Ms. Braithwaite has a cap on the number of A’s she will give out” (8); “[He] relayed how his attempts to fight for an A in the class had been defeated by Ms. Braithwaite, who reportedly told him that he was a ‘B student.’”

For the record: I do not define my students by grades. There are no A students, B students, or C students in my class. Such a practice is antithetical to one of the core principles of my teaching philosophy, which is the belief in a growth mindset. To label an individual as a “B student” suggests that a grade is an identity position as opposed to what it actually is: a means of codifying the quality of the work. I do say, and will continue to say for as long as I work in an institution that uses letter grades, that the work a student might produce is “B work,” or “A work,” or “C work.” I arrive at this designation by comparing the work to a standard that is set at the beginning of the course and made clear to my students. All work in my classes receives feedback that reflects those standards. All students in my classes, therefore, have the potential to earn an A if they produce work that meets or exceeds the standards set. As a result, there is no limit to the number of A’s that may be earned in my class.

An important correction: The course referenced in the article is actually team-taught by myself and Ms. DeBuhr. We, along with the students, set the standards for the course that year, and we conducted all grading meetings together with each student. The student in the article mentions that I alone labeled him this way, but all grading meetings included both teachers, and all decisions were jointly made. Our discussion focused on the quality of the work, not the definition of the individual. We labeled the work, not the student.

We regret that the student felt labeled by our grading discussion. While it was not our intention for our words to be interpreted this way, we do not negate the possibility for this interpretation, and we apologize for any hurt our actions caused.

Sincerely,

Alisa K. Braithwaite

English Teacher

Milton Academy

 

Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=9140

Posted by on Apr 14 2017. Filed under More News, News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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