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Academic Scoreboard

Making schoolwork a little more competitive
 
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Have a monitor set up in the classroom that displays all the student's averaged grades listed in order accompanied by their names, much like a high score screen at an arcade. Have it networked to the teacher's grading system so it can be updated as soon as new grades are entered.

Now students can see the instantaneous effects of their schoolwork and can really see improvement or decline in grades.

Just think how Billy will feel when he sees what happens when he doesn't turn in an assignment and his name goes down the ranks. Plus, if he makes up the assignment he'll receive the positive reinforcement of his rank going up.

I really think this method would be more effective than printing out tons of progress sheets and would give kids a sense of accomplishment for doing well.

I realize this totally messes with the whole privacy issue with students wanting to keep their grades a secret but I think most students would like it and those who didn't could opt out of being displayed.

(I also know something similar to this was used in the tv show malcolm in the middle with the overachieving kids [using a dry erase board or something] and it drove them mad but that was a tv show and not real life)

danharold, Jul 19 2004

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       What school did you go to, danharold? In my experience, any schooltime evidence of intelligence or worse still academic effort was punishable by a post school kicking and/or placing of a dead seagull in your schoolbag.
calum, Jul 19 2004
  

       This was baked in many of my high school classes (but in a paper-posted-on-a-wall form). It caused all sorts of social issues... my classmates in calculus preyed on the the top scorers constantly, asking for help.
evilmathgenius, Jul 19 2004
  

       The last time I remember this being used was for 6th grade spelling test performance. We got a red foil star by our names for each week that we scored 100%. I missed only one star...u-n-n-e-c-e-s-s-a-r-y...now, where's my stupid star?!   

       Really, I can see an argument for and against this concept. It can be motivating for the, ahem, "star" performers, but I can see where it might be demotivating for others. I have always been a little uncomfortable with it.
half, Jul 19 2004
  

       It is KEY to include a horizontal line indicating where "excellence" lies on the scale. It is possible that you are worst in the class and yet still "excellent" in the subject. Students need to know this more than where in the class ranks they stand.
phundug, Jul 19 2004
  

       Very good point. You are a teacher, aren't you? (I know someone around here has mentioned that they are an educator of some sort).   

       I used to be sorta smart, back in the olden days. What I hated was that when I "excelled" that seemed normal, and when I made a mistake, that got loads of attention from the teacher(s). I suppose they were trying to console me and say that the "failures" were not a big deal. It didn't work that way.
half, Jul 19 2004
  

       [half] brings up another issue in my mind as to why this is a bad idea. You'll have students who are always near the top, but will never be praised for it by the teacher or peers because it is the typical situation. Once said student messes up and gets a C on an exam, all the other students will rub it in the poor kid's face! Privacy for the students is really very important, especially in a psychologically tender stage like middle or high school.
evilmathgenius, Jul 19 2004
  

       [half] I'm not a teacher, but thanks for the compliment!   

       Unfortunately, it's a mathematical inevitability that an excellent person's failure is more significant than a mediocre person's failure. Suppose you have hit 9 out of 10 targets and you miss the 11th. Your percentage drops from 90% to 82% in one shot. Whereas if a dullard with a 5-out-of-10 average misses the 11th shot, his average drops from 50% to 45%, only a 5 percentage point loss. I believe we internalize these mathematical realities, and imbue the more salient conceptual observations with more importance.   

       Another way I think of it is that an excellent person makes very few mistakes, so of course it is natural for others to wonder aloud about why one happened, and to call attention to it. Being an exellant person myself (yeah right) I understand people's curiosity.   

       Unfortunately, what's very hard is if you're excellent and no longer want to *be* excellent in something. At times, there can be nothing worse than having potential.
phundug, Jul 19 2004
  

       //what's very hard is if you're excellent and no longer want to *be* excellent in something// I disagree. there are always ways to up the ante - you could do things backwards or with your left hand or in a different style, language...
po, Jul 19 2004
  

       Did any of yall see the made-into-a-movie version of Heinlein's book, "Starship Troopers" ? It had this; I'm not sure if it was real-time or updated weekly-type-thing, but that was the basic deal.
contracts, Jul 19 2004
  
      
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