competition, learning, and suffering

Catherine Sarisky sarisky at cco.caltech.edu
Fri Aug 14 01:24:56 EST 1998


Karen Allendoerfer wrote:

>         One additional reason I think that the seating in the classroom by
> test scores is a bit different than the sports ranking at meets, is that
> the ranking, at a sports meet, is transient.  It is there for the
> afternoon, and then at practice the next day, you can set about the
> business of getting better.  In contrast, in the particular physics class
> that I wrote about briefly in the other posting, it was especially annoying
> because when you did well on a test, you had to sit in the *back* of the
> room.  And this lasted for a month or two, until the next test, not just an
> afternoon.  So every day, every class, you were reminded of how you did on
> that last test.

Karen, I heartily agree with your whole post (most of which I snipped)! 
Just one comment:  I don't at all like the idea of ranking the whole
class on the basis of test scores, but I *do* think that one should
*strongly* encourage the low-scorers to sit in the front of the room --
privately, of course!  Sitting at the front of the room means you're
more likely to be able to see the teeny subscripts on the equations,
hear everything that's said, not take naps out of fear of getting
noticed, etc.  Not to mention getting called on more, having the
instructor notice that you're looking puzzled and spend a little more
time on the topic, etc etc etc.

Just my 2 cents

Cathy




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