Is Weston High School the only school that gives out too many awards? Probably not. I counted 14 awards for one of our seniors, and 14 for another as well! And, of course, there were hundreds of others for seniors. And then there are the awards for juniors, sophomores, and freshlings.

I also wonder about the structure of our math awards. Along with prizes for Math Team, American Math Competition, etc., we also award a letter of commendation in each section of each course. This letter is given “for significant mathematical growth during the past year; curiosity and eagerness to learn; contributions to other students’ learning; superior work on daily assignments; effort and dependability; meeting uncertainty and challenges with a positive attitude.” (No, I don’t know why there are semicolons in the absence of internal commas.) Then, out of the pool of letter winners, one student is selected in each course to receive a book award “for excellence in _____.” But look at the disparate criteria. Is it really right that each book awardee is ipso facto a letter-of-commendation winner, when the criteria are so different? Under this system, suppose the student who most deserves the book award for excellence in Algebra II is quiet, sticks to herself, and ignores most homework because she understands it already; she is automatically excluded from the book award because she couldn’t possibly qualify for a letter of commendation.

Categories: Teaching & Learning, Weston