Thursday, January 29, 2009

Supporter of No Grades...What Does a Letter Tell You Anyway?

So what does a letter grade tell you anyway? A percentage of a particular content that was regurgitated? Does it demonstrate how insightful or analytical a child is capable of when presented with a new problem? Does it explain how he/she collaborates with his classmates to arrive at a solution.

My son graduated from Prescott College in AZ. And he accomplished it in 4 years! He was diagnosed late in High School with ADD and his counselor at that time said that we would be lucky if he would graduate from HS. This statement at the time...I could not imagine...but she was very close to this prediction, because he was so dis-engaged with his classes...that he barely passed his last few required courses.

My son is extremely bright, but had difficulty with the organizational skills (which were not taught well in school) and are so necessary to be successful. This lack of organization is what held him back and soon he became disillusioned about continuing with an education at the secondary level.

However, after a few years he gave it another try. And ended up not making it through more than a few weeks until he again became bored in the traditional "sit and get" lecture hall style courses with Teacher Assistants who couldn't even pronounce the technical words.

We then discovered, through the internet, the non traditional education at Prescott College. My son was very active in Scouts, so the outdoor education and the "more vans than classrooms" for his learning environement appealed to him. Courses were taught by PhD or Master level instructors and the students not only learned from their teacher but also more from each other.

At the graduation, it was inspiring to hear about the senior projects and the progressive programs that these students were learning and creating ...mostly about saving our environment.

It has been three years, since he graduated and I continue to be in awe about how bright, curious, analytical and insightful he is and continues to be. I am thankful that we discovered a program that allowed him to learn the way that engaged and challenged him at the same time.

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