I remember the day the whole crowdsourcing idea was introduced to us. As I’m recalling it, this started off just as an idea, which meant it could either be temporary or something we upheld with. The system consisted in allowing every IA student to have a direct input on the grading process, not for just for him or herself, but for everybody. It had to come from own initiative; we pledged out the mark we believed personally, our classmate deserved along with both positive praises and constructive criticism…publicly.
You see, I taste both traditional education and the IA, every, day, and I can tell you, it's a bittersweet reality. I go, from an environment where we aspire for ease in transparency, to one 'where':
- collaboration in assessments is strictly prohibited; it would be considered academic dishonesty.
- “ “ the points outlined in a rubric are the only elements you’ll be assessed on; if you’re reduced points for a reason not included in the rubric, you have the clean right to reclaim it to the teacher.
- “ “ The teacher takes a month to return the work, and once you look at the figure, you react internally and move on; there’s not time for personal feedback, after all.
- “ “ when tests are handed back, students cover their marks with crumbled egos, if who's by their side scored higher. Here, people might lie about their score, or otherwise claim they “didn’t study”, to take credit away from others effort.
- " " A+ students are “teachers pets”, and teachers are judged behind their backs when students don’t believe in the mark awarded; they hate you, it’s their fault you won’t get into college.
Aiming for the complete opposite picture, crowdsourcing seemed like the logical way to go. Here, the mark had to be deserved; there were no teacher’s favorites, there was no bias, and it was ALL transparent. So, this brings me back to Thursday’s class, the second and most recent time we repeated the process with the focus on our progress in English honors.
As the two hour long session advanced, I found equal comfort in criticizing and being criticized, praising others and being praised back. The perks of having no rubric to follow is that everything counted; consequently it incentivized genuine care for others growth both as learners and as people. It also felt rewarding because as we advocated for others improvement we gained trust and empathy of one another.
We’ve judged in the past how counterproductive it is to allow valuation to be taboo subject: when companies pretend everything is fine while it’s actually not for the sake of evading discomfort, they collapse. For this reason, being able to give direct and honest feedback without coming out too strong is an essential life skill.
But, there were definitely substantial aspects of English I can improve. Overall, they pointed out that I sometimes get too carried away and my writing comes across too “flowery”. They also called upon my grammar, because I tend to repeat careless mistakes; I have to make sure I use NoRedInk, take initiative to edit others work more often and double-check mine before I publish. The one that I liked to hear the most was when one challenged me to stop doubting my writing so much--to be more confident--because that self-reliance transmits to my reader. Finally, a close friend even pointed out that at times, my way to deal with frustration was not ideal, encouraging me to be more open about it in class rather than just mentioning it outside of it; this will also brace my character and the culture of the IA.