The big deal with encouragement.
This first quote stood out to me because I felt there was no other options in terms of assessments. Yes we primarily “hunt for mistakes” when grading. “When teachers see an upward of 100 students per day and are expected to assess the progress of each of them and then differentiate instruction… it is no wonder that standardized diagnostics become necessary” (page 67). Doesn’t that happen with everything? I felt my hands tied after reading this. Yes, I do believe there must be an emphasis on “grading” and knowing what students can and can’t do (with the emphasis on can’t) because it helps a student learn from their mistakes and then learn to correct that mistake.
I feel it is the nature of learning any new skill academic or interest-based. Also, highlighting the strengths is just as necessary, but also depends on how and what is being measured. A homework assignment is going to measure what the student knows, so it seems ordinary to know where their thinking needs improvement, just like any sport of student interest. Sure, academic work looks different from extracurricular activities. What if academic work was focused on positive outcomes and extracurricular activities would focus on the “needs improvement” skills. Seems like there is not much a difference on how good measurement is achieved. I think encouragement can help in any situation and is the key for succeeding in anything.
I think Maggie and Colby Steinburg would agree with the quote above. They both found Lorena slipping away from academics and tried to find something positive to build skills. This encourages her to become team player and to focus her energy on something attainable (college). The connection from extracurricular activities and academics help become a “bridge” to success and skill building. Their support is necessary for their success.