“Now is not the time to be experimenting on students.”
We were discussing whether or not we should give the same final exam we gave last year. I argued that it would offer a rare opportunity to compare this very abnormal situation to a normal one. Others felt it would be unfair to hold students to the same standard without the same preparation. The data would be enlightening, but at what cost? My colleague had a point: It was something of an experiment.
Then again, this is all an experiment. Every new policy we adopt, every new system we put in place, every new technology we try is an experiment in education. We tinker with teaching and grading and assessment and administration and then watch what happens. And we’re not just experimenting on students: teachers, schools, parents, everyone is getting the treatment. The pandemic signed us all up.
This year it seems like everything about my teaching is experimental. At least now I’ve reached the point where I feel like I’m experimenting to innovate. Six weeks ago I felt like I was experimenting out of desperation. Here’s hoping for a speedy end to the trials.