Monday, June 27, 2011

Link roundup

1. The Los Angeles public school system is reducing the emphasis on homework, making it now account for no more than 10% of students' grades. This criticism is pathetic:

Critics — mostly teachers — worry that the policy will encourage students to slack off assigned work and even reward those who already disregard assignments. And they say it could penalize hardworking students who receive higher marks for effort.
Shouldn't the teachers be confident that the kids who work the hardest on homework will also score the best on tests?

2. I might have linked to this before, but since it won an Emmy, here's a video by the Washington Post in which a comic book cover featuring Frank Cho's Brandy character (based on Lynda Carter) is brought to life. Via.

3. Seven fascinating moments in online video game history.


  1. The one they missed was Sony selling Everquest expansions before they were finished, and then sending people on impossible quests attempting to open areas that they were still working on. That's some cruel stuff.

  2. One particular issue with homework is "it could penalize hardworking students who receive higher marks for effort."

    Yes, you don't want to crush kids... You want to encourage them... And yes, we went through that silly revolution where every kid had to be called a "winner"... And yes, schools will eventually put a failing kid into the next grade anyway...

    But to openly admit that rewarding "effort" is an essential part in judging whether a student has actually learned an acceptable amount of knowledge and/or skill?

    What happened to the days when the argument that favored making homework important was that relying on a limited number of tests gave bad swings for kids who simply had an off day?

  3. The cream always rises to the top. No matter where the bar is set, academically, students sort themselves out.

    In law school there’s a saying:
    “A students become Professors;
    B students become Judges; and
    C students become millionaires.”
    Though, of late, it seems more proper to say “A students get the jobs [period]” . . .no resentment. . . nerds.

    Change the criteria, and the ones smart enough to understand the differences will make the appropriate changes. Those who don’t will continue their subpar performances.

    The way I see it:
    “Smart students will always be smart;
    Slackers will always slack; and
    The wise few will read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, recognize the ghost, and start to figure out what its all about.”

  4. As a former teacher, I think there are two issues here--one is of testing becoming the sole criteria for grading. No teacher wants that (and I would think/hope no parent would want that either). A high grade on a test doesn't equal knowledge, it equals having a good memory. And an A in a class should equal superior knowledge.
    The other main part to this is whether a reduction in homework properly prepares high school students for college. You have papers in college, you have lots of home reading, and you have less attention from your teacher/professor, so you have to be more self-motivated. Having homework teaches you about prioritizing your time and the value of self-motivation.
    I agree with you about the quoted criticism being pathetic, but the idea of restricting homework across the board is arbitrary.