This is an exchange on a question some of you probably have to deal with that I was given permission to post. I’m doing so to get your input and ideas on this subject as well.
Here’s the E-mail I received:
Dear Mr. Kern,
We are reviewing our policy on having an Honor Roll at [our school]. Right now, we have an “A/B” grade list and an “All A’s” grade list . The Honor Roll is posted every quarter.
We (the Academic Affairs Committee) have begun to have doubts that an Honor Roll is a classical concept.. We are trying to come to grips with the reasons for having an Honor Roll in the first place. And of course our parents place so much emphasis on it!
Would you be so kind as to give me your thoughts on this issue?
And here’s my reply:
Technically an honor roll can’t be a “classical concept” because they didn’t give grades in the classical world so there was nothing to build it on.
However, they made a huge deal out of honoring what was worthy of honor (they never would have considered honoring students who didn’t demonstrate virtue in their work just to make them feel good) knowing that “what is honored in nourished and that which has no honor is neglected.”
The ideal would be to honor students for their virtues and to diminish the importance of things that create distractions. That would be the ideal. Ideals are for approximating and moving toward.
That’s a bit of a hasty thought, but I hope it has some value at least. It’s a big question with a lot to think about.
God bless your decision making!
As you can see, I didn’t say a whole lot. Do you have any ideas that can help this Academic Affairs Committee as they wrestle with this issue? Please reply if you do!