21 January 2013

Progressive Assessments

I attended a talk for parents at Gael's school, Keys School Manila.  Basically it was kicking our 20th century schooled asses into the 21st century progressive school system.  As much as I want the earthlings to have a progressive education and as much as I think I am an out of the box parent, there are still times it takes me a while to get used to this alternative schooling.

I went to a traditional Catholic school from pre school to college.  Nearly 20 years later and it is still hard for me to get out of that system sometimes.  When Gael had his first assessment I had no idea what to do.  Was I supposed to sit down and help him review for it?  Was he supposed to review at all? But I was doomed if I was supposed have him study and review with him. They don't have any text books, they don't take down notes, they don't have notebooks. Heck he just brings a jug of water and extra t-shirt when he goes to school!

I tried to remember what I studied when I was 6 to 7 years old and I tried to remember if I had exams at that age. The attempt was futile. I can't even remember what I had for the lunch yesterday, let alone what happened 39 years ago. So I figured I'd go with the progressive school flow and just let the system do the work. In other words I totally slacked off. He is only in first grade, I'm pretty sure he will have to study at some point. Not yet though.

At KSM even the grading system is something new to me. I'm used to numbers and know that 74 is failing. The KSM grading is with on a scale of Advanced and No Opportunity To Observe Yet. A failing grade is labeled Developing. The report card is called a Developmental Profile and it is several pages long. They give grades for ethics, attitude towards work and organization. It takes into account the student as a human being and who he or she is in the community, it is not just a grade on a test. This is what life is all about and this is how assessments in the corporate world go. So when people say that a small progressive school is not the real world I have come to realize that what they really mean is that a progressive school is not regular old system. Thank God for that!

Oh, I almost forgot. Gael didn't study, I didn't review him and everything was good.