Grading Technology? Not again!

So it’s grading time again and that means I’m sitting here filling out 320 grade reports giving Kindergarten, First, and Fifth graders grades for technology. Why? Because it’s on the report card.

I just finished spending two years reworking the report card at my last school so that it did not include technology as a singular subject. Instead technology was an intergraded part of all subject areas. Students were assessed on their use of technology within each subject (authentic assessment).

What gets graded gets taught.

If we want technology to be intergraded into everyday lessons, then we must grade it accordingly. We need to quit treating tech as a separate subject and more like an information skill. We don’t grade students on library usage because we know the skills that the students learn during their library time enhances student learning within the classroom, especially reading and writing. I argue that technology is the same. I see the students for 40 minutes every 6 days, but we focus on skills they need in the classroom. Doing a presentation? We talk about PowerPoint. Doing a podcast? We learn about making a podcast. I teach the skills kids need in order to do the assignment. In the end its how they apply those skills to the subject matter that should be assessed. A good PowerPoint gets a better grade then a weak PowerPoint? The focus should not be on the PowerPoint but the information that it presents. Should we assess students on their presentation of information? Yes, but not on how they use a specific piece of software.

I don’t want you to think that I’m sitting back and complaining about the problem. I am on the report card committee and hopefully will be able to make the changes to the report cards that are needed so that we’re assessing the right skills in the right areas. But that won’t happen until next year, in the mean time 319 more report cards to go.