While I was putting together a response to another blog, this grammar correction ‘gem’ popped up in Microsoft Word.
This example of computer grammar correction run amuck relates to writing instruction in Kentucky.
Until very recently, Kentucky’s teachers graded writing on a “holistic” basis, meaning that the grade was based only on an overall impression. Spelling, grammar and punctuation were deemphasized in this scoring scheme.
One argument used to support this bad idea was the claim that spelling and grammar checkers in word processors made it unnecessary for kids to know the mechanics of writing.
Nearly two decades of our kids suffered under this crazy notion before Kentucky’s teachers were told to grade writing differently. Supposedly, spelling, grammar and punctuation matter once more (at least in those classes where the teacher has reasonable mastery of these skills herself – keep in mind some of today’s teachers learned writing as “KERA kids”).
Unfortunately, wrong-headed ideas about writing were staunchly defended and prevailed in Kentucky for far too long because educators refused to listen to reason.
Now, some of the same education crowd desperately clings to our dysfunctional CATS assessment program. Despite clear evidence that CATS scores are misleadingly inflated, untrustworthy and constantly getting more so, status quo educators have been dragging their heels. They wasted last year with their largely dysfunctional Assessment and Accountability Task Force, making it clear that they wanted to delay meaningful changes until after 2014. Now they just made it clear again that they would prefer to drag out any changes for maybe another half-decade or more.
Meanwhile, our kids would continue to suffer in a program loaded with too much test preparation and too little real education.
There’s a lesson here. Since KERA began, key state educators time and again have emphatically told us things that just were not right. After all these years, their credibility has worn a bit thin. Delay fixing CATS for another five years? If we listen to that bad advice, we’ll just be sacrificing another half-generation of our kids.