If you can’t say something nice …

Australian teachers have been warned not to criticize students lest the poor little dears sue for defamation.

Parents and Citizens’ Association president Di Giblin believes words such as lazy or phrases such as “can try harder” should not be used.

“It is very important when referring to young people that their self-esteem is not damaged,” Ms Giblin said.

“Try harder doesn’t tell a parent anything . . . it is better to say ‘needs motivating’ or ‘is finding it difficult to be engaged in work’.

Yes, that’s so much clearer.

Newly designed report cards provide A through E grades.

Already some parents have expressed disappointment to their school over their child receiving E grades – a scenario many teachers believe labels the student as a failure.

Technically, it means “limited achievement.” Very limited.

Previously, under “formative asessment,” students were not compared to a standard for their grade or to each other, wrote Kevin Donnelly in pushing for the new report cards. Promotion was automatic; failure was impossible.

Formative assessment also embraces a developmental approach to learning, based on the argument that “students develop and learn at different rates and in different ways” and “the rate of individual development and learning can vary enormously and students may achieve a particular standard at different age levels”.

The result? Instead of pass or fail, student progress or lack of progress is clouded by such politically correct terms as beginning, established, consolidating or emerging, solid, comprehensive.

In the U.S. an “emerging” reader is one who can’t read, but “beginning” might be the equivalent in Australian educationese. Hard to tell.

Via Tongue Tied.

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