Thursday, November 26, 2009

Do Post-Secondary Grades Measure Teacher Success?

The presentation today led to some fantastic discussions at the end of class. It is interesting that there are so many differing opinions on the topic as well.

One issue that has come up many times in class and also in blog posts is the topic of being admitted to the faculty of education based only on GPA. We know that being highly intelligent and getting straight A’s does not mean that you will be a good teacher by any stretch so why are admissions based on marks? This is an interesting topic. To be clear, I don’t think that this is the best system. However, I disagree when people make the argument that so many people who would be great teachers don’t get there because of the admission requirements to get into the program. I feel that if a person has a strong passion to become a teacher, they will become one. When I took Ed 2500, my professor explained the admission requirements to us and he said not to worry and that if we wanted to be teachers, we would be. We might not get in right away and we might go to different institutions but we will get there if we want to. I agree completely with this. Perhaps grades don’t matter when you are a teacher but I think that people should be able to work for it. It’s not like you need a 4.0 to get in. I will admit that I did not get in the first year I applied because of my marks. However, I worked hard, reapplied and got in right away. If this is impossible for some people, I question whether they should be educators. It may seem a little harsh but that is just my opinion on that particular argument. On the other hand, I do agree that individuals who have struggled at some point in their academic career do make great teachers as they can relate to students and can better explain and break concepts down. I think we all have something that we have struggled with that can help us relate to our students.

Robert also brought up a really interesting point about giving marks in Education classes once in the program. I always wondered why education classes weren’t just “pass or fail.” It seems that everyone just got an A on everything anyway. What I did not consider was what this would do to a person’s GPA. Classes that are pass/fail are not calculated into a GPA and so may give an inaccurate representation of an individual’s undergraduate work. I understand this but I also think it is so important at this stage in our academic careers to really concentrate and reflect on our own learning and not worry so much about marks.


  1. That was certainly an interesting read. If you haven't already you should check out my site:

    A lot of the issues on the site pertain to the topics you have discussed here.

  2. It always saddens me when I see students (usually PSIs) who are so hung up on marks they keep asking what they can do in the assignment to please me (to get a good mark) rather than to figure out what they want to learn for themselves -- the point of the assignment is to learn the skills necessary to survive the practicum -- an A+ in my module won't save you if you if you screw up in practicum -- but it's often hard to convince them the grade just doesn't matter (so long as they pass) it's only what you actually learn that matters.


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