26.02.2002 Feature Article

Polytechnic Students should go back to school

Polytechnic Students should go back to school
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Are the leaders of the Ghana Union Polytechnic Students' (GNUPS) listening to their constituents? A hunger strike in support of demands over a grading system? I thought students were to achieve whatever learning objectives teachers and administrators used as their method of assessment. When did students demand their own specific assessment methods. Well, wonders shall never end. These student leaders need to re-focus their demands. What they should be calling for is a better environment within which to achieve those "controversial grades". They should be striking for efficient and well-equipped libraries and laboratories. Kwame and Ama Public and policy makers would be more inclined to listen and sympathize with their pleas. As students, they are most likely mastering a trade that they would want to pursue as a career throughout their lifetime. Therefore any form of assessment of their performance should be mastery based. Fortunately, the educational authority agrees with this line of thought and has selected that form of assessment. This method of assessment allows each and every student multiple opportunities to learn and demonstrate their mastery of instructional objectives. Now, for students to master most of the instructional objectives, they must be given good-quality instruction, sufficient time to learn, and be motivated to continue learning. Student's grades will not depend on how well or poorly their classmates perform but only on how well they perform. The bottom line here is how motivated each student is to attain the stated objectives. Students should not push authorities into "grading on the curve." In that case course grades will be determined through comparison of each student's level of performance to the average, or level of other similar students in order to reflect an assumed difference in amount of learned material. That would not be a good system for polytechnic students. I beseech Mr. Yakubu and his colleagues to return to the classroom, where you rightfully belong. What students should be prepared to do, is to motivate themselves to use all available amenities to acquire and attain the objectives of each course. So long as they perform the stated instructional objectives, no grade will be too high. Instead of the leaders been prepared to risk their lives for the withdrawal of the controversial grading system, they should be prepared to risk their lives for the attainment of the stated objectives. I do encourage anyone who knows a poly student to ask him/her to return to school.

Kwame Dwamena Dakwa Bloomington, IN. USA

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