Published in Pacelli Perspective

July 27, 2022

Moving Beyond Grades

Does it make sense for students to only learn facts, take a test, receive a grade, forget, and then move on?  There must be better ways to succeed and to become enriched.  Communication and analytical skills still form the foundation for the growth of the human condition. We all have a passion for what the world has to offer.  However, research in cognitive science has taught us that students learn in a deep, lasting way when they feel ownership and a sense of success in performing complex tasks.  There is now a shift from content-driven to skills-driven learning.  The goal is not to stop thinking about content; rather, decisions about what to teach and how much to teach should be driven by communal focus on core competencies and learning outcomes.  Using an inquiry approach, students must be asked to analyze real world issues both past and present so that they may be able to make informed decisions about issues which will affect their lives.  Technology has made our universe an open book ready to provide learners the ability to evaluate, research, and find evidence on issues that are at the basis of man’s everyday problems.  The question now asked of educators is no longer, “What do you know?” but “How do you learn?”

The key here is that our schools must be places where students’ curiosity is piqued with challenging projects that demand deep thought.  We know that life has become a more complex existence than it was for past generations,  The world is moving fast, and our children need to be helped to not only be able to think clearly, but enabled to build strength and resilience that embed the confidence that they are psychologically safe.  We must nurture this in all our children by giving them a sense of belonging and positive self-concept. 

This shift from just receiving a grade to a search for knowledge must include a large dose of teacher guidance and feedback.  The student must be the doer and get a sense of self-satisfaction from their efforts.  Having a voice and some choice in their educational endeavors gives learners a degree of ownership.  This propels the learner by requiring fluency in relevant content and asks students to develop expertise in content areas as a way to demonstrate important competencies that include research, critical thinking, and primary literacy. 

Teachers at Oak Hill Academy in Lincroft, NJ, support their students by being mentors helping them to achieve success on clearly articulated competencies and learning outcomes.  The key is for the student to gain an ability to think by seeing the connection of topics and being able to transfer knowledge from one subject area to another.  The successful demonstration of learning outcomes leads to a rich feeling of pride and a general love of learning.

Oak Hill Academy is a NJ private school that is co-educational, independent, nonsectarian, and nonprofit for grades pre-kindergarten through eight. Oak Hill Academy is dedicated to a traditional, challenging, and caring learning environment that encourages comprehensive thought processes and deep understandings; thus promoting the wholesome intellectual, emotional, moral, and physical lifetime growth of our students. If you want to learn more about what makes Oak Hill Academy one of the best private school in NJ, visit us online at www.oakhillacademy.com , or subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when we post more topics.

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Oak Hill Academy is a Monmouth County NJ private school that is co-educational, independent, nonsectarian, and nonprofit for grades per-kindergarten through eight.

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