We want to improve student achievement. The question to consider is not should we improve student learning for all, but how will we improve student learning. The key word here is all. While many students are doing fine, the results of SAT and NECAP testing, as well as grades earned by students in their various courses, indicate that a number of our students are under achieving. We want to elevate the achievement of every single student at Campbell.
We expect that all of our graduates will effectively read, write, speak, think clearly, solve problems and be able to effectively continue learning as they move forward in their lives. The “bell curve” mentality of the past, in which a certain number of failures were accepted as par for the course, does not promote learning for all. Instead, we must adopt a “mountain curve” mentality, in which the number of failures is miniscule, and the number of successful students climbs steadily upward.
It is said that the definition of insanity is to continue doing things the same way, but expecting different results. If we want greater student achievement, we must examine our educational practices. Grading is a powerful practice which can leverage students to achieve higher levels of learning. For this reason, we are giving our students an opportunity to focus more fully on their studies by giving them a greater incentive to achieve at higher levels.