Grades and grading are an accepted part of modern education. But why? Why do we accept a system that is more focused on ranking students than on learning? Why do we accept the negative effects of standard grading approaches, including turning students off from learning, increasing stress, creating winners and losers, and perpetuating racial and economic inequality? Why do we accept these things when there are better alternatives?
Wad-Ja-Get? is a unique discussion of grading and its effects on students. The book was written by three education professors who have had first-hand contact with the problems of grading in all its forms. Written in the form of a novel, the topic is explored through the eyes of students, teachers, and parents in one high school embroiled in a controversy around grading. Possible alternatives to the grading system are examined in detail and the research on grading is summarized in an appendix. This 50th anniversary edition of the book includes a new introduction by Professor Barry Fishman, updating the research and setting the original book in the context of today’s educational and societal challenges. Wad-Ja-Get? remains timely five decades after its original publication, and will be inspiring to students, parents, educators, and policymakers.
Howard Kirschenbaum is Professor Emeritus and former chair of counseling and human development, Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, University of Rochester. He has written or co-authored twenty-five books and numerous articles and book chapters in the fields of education, psychology and history, including: Values Clarification in Counseling and Psychotherapy, The Life and Work of Carl Rogers, The College Guide for Experimenting High Schools, 100 Ways to Enhance Values and Morality in Schools and Youth Settings, and the recently published Coming of Age in the Baby Boom: A Memoir of Personal Development, Social Action, Education Reform and Adirondack Preservation. He has given presentations and workshops on values and character education, Carl Rogers and the person-centered approach to counseling and psychotherapy, humanistic education, grading alternatives, and related subjects in forty-eight US states and Canadian provinces and fourteen other countries, and his books have been translated into a dozen foreign languages. He was formerly executive director of the National Humanistic Education Center and the National Coalition for Democracy in Education. He has a Doctor of Education degree from Temple University, where co-authors Sidney Simon and Rodney Napier were his professors.
Rod Napier received his PhD from University of Wisconsin. He taught for ten years at Temple University in the new field of organizational dynamics, teaching and researching new strategies and helping teams and organizations work more effectively. Then independently, as head of the consulting firm Napier and Associates, and as faculty member for ten years at the University of Pennsylvania, he worked on five continents, in twenty-five countries, with schools of every stripe, convents, the military, the office of presidents, hospitals, and a dozen different types of business, such as the Wharton School, United States War College, United Nations, Einstein Medical, the Sisters of Mercy, Philadelphia Archdiocese, and Swarthmore College. He also spent forty summers teaching leadership and survival skills in Canada’s Temagami wilderness. Throughout his career he translated his teaching and learning about managing conflict and building more cohesive and productive groups and organizations into a dozen books. One, a university text, Groups: Theory and Experience, is currently in its eighth edition and has been over the years the largest selling text in the field of group dynamics.
Sidney B. Simon, EdD, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, is internationally known for his pioneering work in Values Clarification, including best-selling works Values and Teaching and Values Clarification: A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Teachers and Students. A leader in the humanistic education movement, he wrote or co-authored twenty books and over one hundred articles, from children’s books like Henry: The Uncatchable Mouse to popular psychology books like Forgiveness: How to Make Peace with your Past and Get on With Your Life, Getting Unstuck: Breaking Through Your Barriers to Change; Caring, Feeling, Touching; and Negative Criticism and What You Can Do About it. He has given hundreds of keynote and other presentations and workshops around the US and the world. He was a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and a Phil Donahue Program on fathers and sons. More recently he has been active in the Florida literary arts community, including as drama critic for area newspapers. His performance workshops, “Stories for Grown-Ups,” have become anticipated and well-attended events throughout southwest Florida. His Living and Loving in That Condo with a View of the Gulf is a rich tapestry of story poems about people growing older in a mythical Florida condo, and his Cheap Grandpa in Action is a charming collection of dialogues between the author and his teenage granddaughter.