The Best Educational System Possible:†Renewing Educational Success in America

Copyright 2013, John Manimas Medeiros

 

Summary/outline:

 

A)† Developmental Learning:† the student follows an outline of the field of study that indicates what level of learning is mastered in that designated field.† Developmental outline of a field can be presented in condensed or abbreviated format, listing comprehensive topics, or highly detailed outline with the many branches of the field of study and what should be mastered before entering a new branch.

B)† Learning Goal Inventories:† student, and other learning goal participants, including parents, family, friends, teachers, community, list the learning goals, or learning objectives, or instructional objectives that the student may or has selected as their learning goals at the present time.† Grade levels or progress levels are neither ignored nor abolished, but are not the guide for the student.† The path of the student is the path of the learning goals selected by the student and those who participate in selecting learning goals for the student.† For the younger students, teachers, parents and others involved in the educational enterprise will keep records and manage the list of learning goals for the student.†

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††††††††††† 1)† Student:† purpose, aspirations, are goals realistic.

††††††††††† 2)† Parents/family:† purposes, expectations, are goals realistic.

††††††††††† 3)† Teachers:† purposes, expectations, are goals realistic.

††††††††††† 4)† Community:† purposes, expectations, are goals realistic.

††††††††††† 5)† Philosophical/social/economic learning goals are considered and identified but are still deemed to be goals selected by #1 through #4 for reasons inherent in philosophical, social or

economic purposes.†This would include vocational, professional or employment training or a program of learning directed toward liberal arts social skills or character development if such goals are deliberately selected.

 

C)† Developmental Grading and Tests and Evaluations:† based on the premise that all tests and evaluations, all forms of grading a student or a studentís progress or level of achievement, are inescapably a form of comparison.† For example, the studentís performance can be compared to a proposed norm or grade level, or an expected age level, but in all cases the student is invariably compared to some established gauge.† Often grades and evaluations, established by testing procedures, are comparisons with selected groups.† For example, a grade from a teacher may be a grade based on comparison with all of the other students in the classroom, or in the age or grade group.† Grading or evaluations are then commonly based on larger groups, such as all students in the school, all students in a given territory such as the municipality or the region or state.† Sometimes the grading is based upon comparison with social, ethnic or economic groups.† In all cases, evaluations are comparisons.† There is no such thing as an evaluation that is universal or based upon a fixed biological standard or expectation.† We can evaluate the knowledge or the skill levels of a student ONLY by comparison with other students or with an artifice that represents an expected or desired level of progress.† Whatever the measure used, any student can be evaluated by the same procedure or standard. †But the standard used for such a measurement is always either other students or a selected level of achievement to be reached either partially or completely.

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††††††††††† THEREFORE, we use developmental grading to avoid the harm caused by hierarchical grading and forcing all individual students to subscribe to the same expectations of achievements in a set of socially-selected fields of knowledge.† Instead, the path of learning has been consciously selected by the student and the other appropriate participants in selection of learning goals, AND, the grade or evaluation or testing results are always measured by the level of mastery achieved in compliance with the developmental outline of the field established in A) above.† This form of grading or evaluation is not new, but is not used universally.† It has been used for learning impaired or emotionally disabled students but should be used for every student for measurement of every field of knowledge.† The essence of developmental learning and developmental grading is that the student is regularly and consistently advised what levels of achievement they have mastered in the given field of knowledge, and what greater levels of achievement they are ready to attempt.† This method of grading avoids the sense that one is smarter or dumber than other students, but is more like being a cross country runner Ė oneís most important competitor is oneself.† The student is encouraged to exceed his or her own past achievements and learn what they want to learn.† The student is supported in their efforts to self-improve, grow by deliberate intent and planning, and therein accept the highest possible responsibility for their own learning.† Their learning path is likely to include an informal or formal process of teacher selection.† This approach to education may also include a formal or informal process where teachers participate in selecting their students, or focus on a particular student because of the particular learning path that they have chosen with the support of the other participants or stakeholders in their learning career.† This approach can also be described as being based in large part on the philosophical viewpoint that everyone in society, everyone in the community, is employed, and the minor childís employment is to be employed as a student.† Their job is to learn, but we want them to enjoy learning.† We want them to enjoy learning not just because we want our children to be happy and enjoy their lives, but mainly because it is very important that children enjoy learning to build good learning habits and motivate them to pursue the most challenging and realistic learning goals for themselves, and succeed again and again.† In this way the students, the teachers and the community all experience success, by a democratic and scientific method of deliberate and conscious awareness of what learning goals each student is pursuing, using a conscious and reasonable process to assure that the learning path is socially and economically and personally realistic for each student.†

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