I’ve been working very hard this year to make sure students experience science – or the process of science – as much as possible. Physics and chemistry are real and they matter to us. It’s my job to help them see why they matter to us.
Placed into a school context, I ask students to prove that they’ve learned something. I grade based on standards with a very simple standards-based method (based largely on Frank Noschese’s writing): if you know it, full credit. If you don’t know it, no credit. I don’t fuss with percentages or sliding scales. The objectives (standards has a different connotation to students, more on that another time) weight in at 80% of their final grade. I still give tests and quizzes which can demonstrate the learning, but students are free to show me what they know at any time for credit.
I’ve run into an issue where students memorize snippets in hopes of earning the objective. It’s a checkbox to them. I’m trying to show that learning is more than the simple recitation of information. It’s the sum of the experiences and, more importantly, what you do with those experiences.
I get this way every time I give a quiz or test because I have to constantly reiterate the importance of learning, not just in “passing.”