Call for action to all school leaders

Have you heard of the Mastery Transcript Consortium?

If you are an educator, a parent or a student, you need to check it out! If you are a school leaders, you need to act. Join MTC now or risk to be running a school that is obsolete in the next few months. We are in the middle of a freaking pandemic and if we don’t see the need to change now, then when? Like Gary Stagger said in his recent post: This is our moment!

The core of what MTC proposes is to teach parents, students and educators that grades and GPA aren’t necessary. What matters is learning. They refuse to use grades and GPA in transcripts. They refuse to reduce a child to a number and they teach schools to value the process of learning and self-discovery so that students aim at specific colleges because that makes sense to their portfolio / interests / skills and not because mom or dad want the prestige of an Ivy League School.

— By the way, I have nothing against Ivy League Schools YET, coming from the French system where you mostly go to public schools and universities, I strongly believe that many different types of colleges can fit one’s needs very well and you don’t need a fancy school to get what you want. And to know more about the less travelled road, check this book: Colleges that Change Lives by Loren Pope. —

MTC forces us to move away from seeing High Schools as high pressure/ competitive / compliance-driven places and forces us to shift mindsets toward the students knowing themselves and developing self-drive to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

Because when students are represented by numbers, it does not mean it’s fair and correct.

— I have suffered from the extremely poor grading system in France (excuse me, it’s not even a system, it’s almost as if it was random). I was on the winning streak as a small child (with pressure to be in the first 3 in class), later in Middle School, I could not succeed the same way and began to be a looser and then regained a better status in high school. I did two Master degrees and both my thesis didn’t receive good enough grades to pursue a doctorate in France without having to beg to even apply for one. I ended up applying to another country where, I hope, my personal statement and research proposal matter more (waiting to hear back…). I don’t believe it is fair as I NEVER even had a rubric about my assessments or my thesis in France!!! Most schools don’t have a fair grading system so removing grades altogether, to me, makes perfect sense. Stop with the carrot and the stick and start with self-esteem, self-discovery, personalized learning, intrinsic motivation. We don’t want students to perform due to external factors (to get rewards, like grades or avoid punishments, like disappointing their parents with low grade), so why do we still use this old-fashioned system? We don’t even believe in this system! Why do we want to do this to young adults!

Who decides what is an A+ or a 4. point GPA? All schools make it up based on scales and percentages. Because it looks scientific (calculation or even the recent IB algorithm) does not mean it’s fair. Professional Judgement and self-assessments are essential skills for teachers and students.

I do believe that we can grade in a FAIR ways (using what Ken O’Connor or Thomas Guskey propose for example) but unfortunately, not everyone is aware and practice those.

So, MTC is pushing the boundaries by working with colleges and I think it should not be the future, it should be the past already. Why is the business of education so slow??? Why do we not place learning at the centre? It’s paradoxical!

We should ask our High Schoolers: What do you aspire to and want to contribute in the world? Isn’t that the true mission of education? Instead, we push them to ‘get good grades’. It’s so shallow. Don’t we want them to grow as self-actualized individuals who know their strengths and stretch themselves by choice?

If we wait for a politician to change this, nothing will ever happen. This needs to be done with courageous leaders in schools and colleges and this movement has started through MTC. Hope it gets amplified and our children finally feel respected and supported in launching themselves into the real world.

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