19 min

How to Track Progress (Continued): Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 3‪)‬ In Their Own Words

    • Management

In this episode, David and Andrew continue to talk about the thorny problem of tracking student progress - grading - and how to remove it from the classroom. 
TRANSCRIPT
0:00:02.3 Andrew Stotz: My name is Andrew Stotz, and I'll be your host as we continue our journey into the teachings of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Today, we continue our series of Deming in Education with David P. Langford, where we explore Deming thinking to create joy in learning. David Langford has devoted his life to applying Dr. Deming's philosophy to help everyone get the most out of learning. Today's topic is a continuation of the discussion on tracking progress in learning. David, take it away.
 
0:00:34.4 David Langford: Thank you, Andrew, it's great to be back again. In the previous podcast, we were discussing tracking learning and the typical way to track learning is grading people; A, B, C, D, and F, and Deming was very adamant that we could significantly improve the education system if we just stopped grading people. So, in my work with education over the last 30 years, a lot of educators get that, and they don't like grading and they've never liked having to do it and being the final judge. And then there's another whole group that thinks it's their right to judge people and give them a grade about what they could do. So, I mentioned in one of the earlier broadcasts that Deming said, "Why would I wanna judge somebody today when I don't know who's gonna turn out to be great in the future?" So I wouldn't wanna do anything that's gonna limit them.
 
0:01:33.2 DL: So as a teacher myself, having to think through that and having to actually work inside of a grading system and try to figure out what you could do, I think you first have to go through the thought process; is it possible for everyone in a class, for instance, to achieve. And if you say to yourself, "No, it's not possible." I had some students that said, "It's just not possible," they can't do it, you're probably never gonna get there. But if you start to say, "if it was possible, what would we have to change in the system in order to optimize everybody getting to that point?" Well, it always turns out that through neural science, every educator, even parents, will tell you that everybody learns at a different rate. You give somebody a complex problem or something somebody might be able to answer that in three seconds, and other people it might take them a very long time, but they could eventually get it, it just might take a lot longer for you to get there. And so, we sort of truncate that in education, and we talked about, last time, about deadlines and what deadlines mean, and those are mostly for the person managing the class to keep the class moving, right?
 
0:02:57.1 DL: Because if I just sort of make it open-ended and say, "Okay, well, everybody has to get to a certain level of performance, and we'll just keep it open until you get there," most teachers will tell you it would just be chaos, so the idea of changing a deadline to a target date, so... Yes, here's what you need to know and learn, or the process of what you need to go through. And our target date for you to finish this is this Friday, so then we run into the problem, well, what happens if somebody doesn't do it, or they don't do it at all, right? Well, in the current systems, if somebody doesn't do it at all, some teachers actually like that, 'cause then you don't have to grade people, you just give them a zero, right? And you go on. But if you think about, "no, my job is to optimize that child's performance." So if you didn't get it done, then we're gonna have a conversation. "How quickly can you get it done? When can I expect to see this?" That you're not getting off the hook, so to speak. I observed this with high school classes I was teaching when I first met Deming, and students would just tell me, "just give me a C," or "just give me a C or a D or something", and sometimes they would be basketball player

In this episode, David and Andrew continue to talk about the thorny problem of tracking student progress - grading - and how to remove it from the classroom. 
TRANSCRIPT
0:00:02.3 Andrew Stotz: My name is Andrew Stotz, and I'll be your host as we continue our journey into the teachings of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Today, we continue our series of Deming in Education with David P. Langford, where we explore Deming thinking to create joy in learning. David Langford has devoted his life to applying Dr. Deming's philosophy to help everyone get the most out of learning. Today's topic is a continuation of the discussion on tracking progress in learning. David, take it away.
 
0:00:34.4 David Langford: Thank you, Andrew, it's great to be back again. In the previous podcast, we were discussing tracking learning and the typical way to track learning is grading people; A, B, C, D, and F, and Deming was very adamant that we could significantly improve the education system if we just stopped grading people. So, in my work with education over the last 30 years, a lot of educators get that, and they don't like grading and they've never liked having to do it and being the final judge. And then there's another whole group that thinks it's their right to judge people and give them a grade about what they could do. So, I mentioned in one of the earlier broadcasts that Deming said, "Why would I wanna judge somebody today when I don't know who's gonna turn out to be great in the future?" So I wouldn't wanna do anything that's gonna limit them.
 
0:01:33.2 DL: So as a teacher myself, having to think through that and having to actually work inside of a grading system and try to figure out what you could do, I think you first have to go through the thought process; is it possible for everyone in a class, for instance, to achieve. And if you say to yourself, "No, it's not possible." I had some students that said, "It's just not possible," they can't do it, you're probably never gonna get there. But if you start to say, "if it was possible, what would we have to change in the system in order to optimize everybody getting to that point?" Well, it always turns out that through neural science, every educator, even parents, will tell you that everybody learns at a different rate. You give somebody a complex problem or something somebody might be able to answer that in three seconds, and other people it might take them a very long time, but they could eventually get it, it just might take a lot longer for you to get there. And so, we sort of truncate that in education, and we talked about, last time, about deadlines and what deadlines mean, and those are mostly for the person managing the class to keep the class moving, right?
 
0:02:57.1 DL: Because if I just sort of make it open-ended and say, "Okay, well, everybody has to get to a certain level of performance, and we'll just keep it open until you get there," most teachers will tell you it would just be chaos, so the idea of changing a deadline to a target date, so... Yes, here's what you need to know and learn, or the process of what you need to go through. And our target date for you to finish this is this Friday, so then we run into the problem, well, what happens if somebody doesn't do it, or they don't do it at all, right? Well, in the current systems, if somebody doesn't do it at all, some teachers actually like that, 'cause then you don't have to grade people, you just give them a zero, right? And you go on. But if you think about, "no, my job is to optimize that child's performance." So if you didn't get it done, then we're gonna have a conversation. "How quickly can you get it done? When can I expect to see this?" That you're not getting off the hook, so to speak. I observed this with high school classes I was teaching when I first met Deming, and students would just tell me, "just give me a C," or "just give me a C or a D or something", and sometimes they would be basketball player

19 min