Who qualifies as a tough teacher?

A new study published in Education Next concludes that students learn more from tougher teachers (“End the ‘Easy A’,” Education Next, Spring 2020).  It goes on to say that grading standards can be used as a measure in making a determination.

But do rigorous grading standards by themselves make good teachers?  If that is the case, then all teachers have to do to receive an excellent evaluation from their principal is to raise the bar so high that only a handful of students pass the class. I’ve long believed, however, that the best teachers are those who make clear to their students what the course’s instructional objectives are and provide them with appropriate practice and feedback so that they can achieve the stated goals.

If most students are able to do so, then in my opinion those teachers are good.  Does that mean they are not tough enough?  The answer goes back to the purpose of teaching.  Is it to fail as many students as possible by erecting impossibly high standards that only a few gifted students can attain?  Teachers are supposed to help students learn as much as they possibly can.  If achieving that goal makes it too easy, so be it.

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