Monday, January 26, 2009

Grading Systems: How are they different?

Some international students experience culture shock when they study in different educational students from their own. In addition to classroom environment and teacher-student, some students are used to grading systems that might be different from their own. For example, a passing grade in a class might only be 50-60% in their countries, and then assume this percent is the same elsewhere. Then, we they discover that the standard is higher (let's say, 70%+), they feel that this is unfair.

Furthermore, some students complain that they have too much homework (2 hours a night), and that they have no time to do anything. However, these are students who don't have jobs, no families to take care of in the US, and no other community responsibilities. Many American college students work to pay for school (not just fashion clothing and iTunes downloads) AND go to school at the same time.

Again, when expectations and experience collide and are different, then misunderstandings can happen.

So, are there other aspects of culture or education that you have found different when traveling to a new country? Of, if you have gone overseas, what aspect of culture do you think you will find the most challenging to adjust to?




Bruno/Ingrid said...

I think we kind of have the same problem in Brazil but it happens at different sociocultural levels. Besides, it seems we have two completely different educational systems within the same country - one especially designed for students who come from poor backgrounds and another one for the elite. For example, a passing grade in the public sector (where the majority of poor students go)is around 60% whereas in the private sector (at the best schools) it's around 70%. In Brazil, 90% percent of our public school students have a part time job and they do go to school every day. On the other hand, most of the students from the private sector spend much of their time studying and doing extra-curricular activities such as learning one or two foreign languages and taking computing classes. What is unfair is Brazil is that if you're born poor, you'll have to struggle to get an education let alone having the same job opportunities. As to my experience abroad, I once took a course in the US for English language teachers from Latin America, since it was a short course, it seemed to me that the professors had little time to cover all the topics they wanted (or had planned to) or maybe they didn't have a clear agenda... They ended up talking about lots of things at the same time but we didn't have enough time to discuss what was being taught or even share our opinions or previous experience with regard to the topic in class. It was like doing a litle bit of this and that and not learning anything at all. We were always pressed for time and needed to rush from one class to another - time was indeed a big issue there.

Anonymous said...

I m muhammad i think in our high schools the most difficult subject is calculus it is not for anyone but depends upon the teachers how they teach and the the student how much they get this subject seriously.but the problem creates when the result of calculus become just thirty to forty percent.we can handle it ourself by doing daily practices problems. do practice of exercise at home which you done on that at your university this can help you more. sometimes students dont take it seriously and they take this subject easy and take it behind for the spare time but i think it is not too much easy as they think.
Daily practices and concentration in class can make them perfect in calculus. THANK YOU

Julie Adler said...

I think there is a problem with grade inflation at both the high school and university level in the U.S. High grades are too common. Many students believe they should get a high grade simply for showing up regularly to class. In other countries, perfect scores are unheard of, and only a select few earn the highest grades.

Anonymous said...

I have been studying English in Europe for quite a while now because I cannot afford going to an English speaking coutry at the moment. I must say that I am very disappointed by the teachers I have - and have had - and by the educational system I am in. It fells like everything is spinned and biased altogether. And I really haven't learned anything in English but by myself, by frequenting English speaking people, by taking examinations at the British Council, and by using websites such as Randall's. I do feel that this educational system I am in is egregious because teachers don't do their job properly and don't have the skills to do their job properly. As a teacher, one ought to empower his or her students with language. And this is certainly no minor achievement because you can use a foreign language all your life. To be a pilot, you need to know how to pilot the aeroplane so that it takes off, flies, and lands safely. To be a language teacher, you need to know to speak the language you specialise in so that you empower your students with language; in other words, so that your students take off, fly, and land safely in their careers should they need foreign languages.
I do appreciate Randall's job because this website is a very precious tool he provides to language learners who, I think, should take the most of it. That's what I do. I cringe at teachers who only know to read, write, and understand to a very small extent. I just don't like deceit and conceit and in this country I am in, it's just crazy that students know more about English than their teachers. I am really not saying this out of a sense of retaliation. But if you want to learn a foreign language, I do recommend that you tend to native speakers if you don't want results, understanding, and language skills to be affected and biased. I am not French and unfortunately I can't help being in France. But hopefully, one day, I'll be leaving.

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