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A way to measure a student’s effort
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Pronounced: ze-a-me-ter , from the Hebrew word “ze-a” meaning sweat. Family lore has it that this idea comes from my father’s Hebrew teacher, though I’m sure, in various forms, it can be traced back to prehistory. The idea is that you don’t rate students by how they did on some test (which is a skill in itself), but rather in the *effort* they made to study the material in the course. The problem, of course, is how to implement this. Treading dangerously close to invoking scientific sounding mumbo jumbo “magic”, I will suggest the following approaches: Actually measuring sweat. Measuring brain activity. A “Neilson family”-type machine for what books/CD-ROMs/online sites you’re reading.

Yes, I do realize how Orwellian this all sounds. But I hear that some unfortunate souls have to endure this kind of invasion of privacy in their workplace. And these are adults that are used to far more freedom than grade school kids. In fact, if as a pupil I had an option of having a non-intrusive “net-nanny” attached to my glasses and therefore not have to do any of the finals, I might actually go for it

You can be sure that less than 30 seconds after such an apparatus would me created, there would be a black market for counter-zeameter devices for fooling the zeameter. But if you think of it, this is no different from the current methods of cheating. Just that now, you can simply invoke the ideal punishment- do the test.

imho, Jul 06 2003


       Bad idea, mostly because it won't match to the real world. Kid won't get a raise for giving effort, but results. Lets get that idea in their heads early.
Bongmaster, Jul 16 2003

       I have to agree with bongmaster on this idea. Once out in the world, performance is the only relevent factor.   

       However, I also don't see your idea as a total loss. I don't think a measure of 'effort' would be a good way to grade at all, but I could see where instructors could use it to monitor the progress of students. Perhaps as a measure of a student's mastery of material, when compared to traditional scores based on performance. A student that has mastered material would do well on an assignment/ test and exert little effort in the process. A student who grasps material but still needs practice to retain the knowledge might still do well on assignments/tests but will have to exert far more effort.   

       And as for those that do not do well on tests, it would be possible to separate those who do poorly on assignments/tests due to apathy from those who just are not learning the information. The "slackers" would measure little or no 'effort' put forward and do poorly, as opposed to the students who try hard but may need extra help to learn, who would presumably show high 'effort' measurements but still have low grades.   

       So i think this idea *could* be a welcome addition to the educational system, but by no means a replacement for grading.
druii_42, Aug 24 2003


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