Standards-based grading?

What’s wrong with grading on a curve? Or what’s wrong with grading by straight percentages? Twelve years ago I wrote a post about why grading on a curve is destructive and counterproductive — and why grading by straight percentages isn’t actually… Read More ›

Recent Posts

  • The Fight for English

    It seems that I have to write about David Crystal once a year or so. This expert popularizer of linguistics always provides well-informed but accessible antidotes to common myths about language, such as the one alluded to in the subtitle… Read More ›

  • Back from Manchester (but which one?)

    No, not that one! Not Manchester, New Hampshire. Not Massachusetts. (Oh, you’re right, that one is now “Manchester by the Sea.“) Not Connecticut. Does every state around here have its own Manchester? Not even Manchester, England. (Or do I mean “Manchester,… Read More ›

  • The War Room

    How I miss Bill Clinton! Yes, he certainly wasn’t a perfect president — and yes, he wasn’t Obama — but… [You can finish the rest of the sentence yourself.] The War Room is a documentary about Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign… Read More ›

  • Morning glories

    I do love our purple morning glories!

  • Ben X (a film about Asperger’s)

    Grim. Much too grim. I’m talking about Ben X, a subtitled 2007 Dutch-language movie from Belgium — a work of fiction, based on a real story. I don’t have any problem with serious films, but I just had to stop watching Ben X half-way through…. Read More ›

  • Hillbilly Elegy

    What an irritating book! Even if you haven’t read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, you’ve probably at least heard of it, as it made quite a splash when it came out last year and stayed on the best-seller list for weeks… Read More ›

  • Unseen World

    Unseen World, a fascinating and complicated novel, will capture and maintain your attention — if you’re the right sort of reader. Right for this book, I mean of course. You probably are if you’re interested in computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, online virtual worlds (as… Read More ›

  • Todd Graff’s Camp

    “A flawed movie about flawed characters,” as one reviewer put it. But that’s OK; even flawed movies can be worth watching, if you’re willing to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. This film from 2003 is definitely one… Read More ›

  • Curiosity and conformity

    Continuing some of the themes that have been lurking just below the surface of my past three posts, I turn to an essay by Joel Wagner. Most of his essay actually springs from a blog post by a different author,… Read More ›