Friday, March 28, 2014

Here's my chapter from the book De-Testing and De-Grading Schools

In June of 2013 I co-edited a book with Paul Thomas called De-Testing and De-Grading Schools: Authentic Alternatives to Standardization and Accountability. 

Here's my chapter: Reduced to Numbers: From Concealing to Revealing Learning.

Feel free, to read and share widely.

Consider joining the Grading Moratorium here. Email me if you are interested:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I could not agree more Joe. Thank you for your example.

    You have shown the potential that exists for genuine leadership within our profession - and what can come from following our instincts to challenge aspects of the current system that simply don't make sense.

    Off to buy your book.

    Thanks again.

    Liz (

  3. Here is a thought that I have had as I have been reading through the research, opinions and conclusions about education today:

    We live in a world where we are rapidly taking all questions which have a definitive answer and creating tools (mostly computerized devices and software) to provide those answers on demand. At the same time we are formulating our education system to drive home into people the answers to these very same questions. In fact, our systems of measurement of worth for students seem to be narrowing in on only the questions that have an easy to determine right or wrong answer (so they can be graded objectively). We are doing this to the point that we are removing all that is subjective or has no singular answer: things such as the arts, philosophy and creative thinking. Are we teaching our children to become that which our tools are replacing - drones housing analytical facts and algorithms. We are essentially reducing children to something that is quickly becoming obsolete, what our tools can do more accurately and more quickly and a lot more cheaply. Should we, in fact, really be teaching kids LESS of these easy to grade subjects and MORE about being creative, inquisitive and entrepreneurial? Because the value in being human is to do that which our tools are incapable of doing - thinking, pun intended, OUTSIDE THE BOX.

    Note that I have extensive education in math and sciences, having received a BS in Mathematics and MA in Statistics. I have taught at the college level as well as at career training school. I have an extensive educational background in and experience with the very facts, figures and algorithms that I am saying we may be spending too much time on.

    Why do I say all this when it is how I was brought up to think? Because I also write software and have written educational testing and grading software for years and I see how computers are rapidly taking over the tasks which we are spending so much time on in K-12 schools. I know how important it is for kids to understand math and sciences. But I also know that CREATIVITY is what makes me valuable to my employers, not the knowledge of fancy math which I can Google search with ease today.

    I also watch as the people who are rewarded the most - the entrepreneurs and creative thinkers - often quit school to do something great. They leave the grind because the grind only turns you into pulp. It is the people who learn these “soft” and creative skills who become the most successful.

    And I watch as I and other computer programmers like myself, gradually are making the kids of today’s educational programs obsolete before they even make it to the work force.

    True value comes from making yourself into something that is hard to come by. Make yourself into a human computer? What a waste. Instead, you should be a thinker and creative genius. K-12 beats that out of you when it should be nurturing it, growing it and helping it thrive!

    -Aaron Bono


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