“Over time, we began to realize that many teachers had been grading kids for compliance — not for mastering the course material,” [middle school principal Katie] Berglund said. “A portion of our A and B students were not the ones who were gaining the most knowledge but the ones who had learned to do school the best.”....How did the word "exclusively" get into that last question? It seems obvious to me that schools should give achievement in learning the primary place it deserves and should also demand appropriate behavior. Students need to be decently well-behaved, diligent, and organized, but it's wrong to treat teacher's-pet-type students as if they are the best. That drives many smart kids into rebellion. And, frankly, it's likely to create unnecessary problems for lots of boys. And it doesn't do girls any favors either, since real careers aren't about handing in all the homework and pleasing the authority figure.
As test scores fast become the single and most powerful measurement by which educational outcomes are being judged, more schools might find themselves engaged in what has become a pivotal debate: Should students be rewarded for being friendly, prepared, compliant, a good school citizen, well organized and hard-working? Or should good grades represent exclusively a student’s mastery of the material?
ADDED: I'm told that the Week In Review pieces like this are properly referred to as news "analysis," and not "op-eds."