WSU graduate student Megan McLean earns educator grant

Closeup of Megan McLean
Megan McLean

The Washington State University College of Education has awarded a doctoral student a grant to help in her efforts to revitalize math, science, and technology education within her school.

In addition to being a student in the mathematics and science education program, Megan McLean is also a teacher at Lewis and Clark High School in downtown Spokane and will receive the annual Ferrucci Distinguished Educator Award. The financial award covers project expenses in her efforts to transform the way students are assessed and graded, with a focus on providing meaningful feedback rather than deducting points.

McLean said key revitalization areas include the need to train teachers to adopt modern grading practices that emphasize feedback and learning.

“Many educators desire to provide students with the necessary feedback to learn from their mistakes and achieve mastery, but they often lack the knowledge, tools, and support to make this transition,” she said.

By reimagining assessment practices, McLean aims to alleviate students’ anxiety and foster a growth mindset, enabling all students, including those who consider themselves “bad students,” to thrive without the constraints of a punitive grading system.

McLean said the grant will not only enable her to further her personal and professional development but also provide her with the resources to create a community of practice for mathematics and science teachers seeking to implement feedback-based assessment. 

McClean said she plans to enroll in the online “Discover Grading for Equity” course through Crescendo Education Group, deepening her understanding of research in mathematics education. Furthermore, McLean intends to collaborate with fellow educators, facilitating monthly meetings to share strategies, discuss student evidence, and evaluate emerging research.

The project addresses a critical need in education by empowering students to take ownership of their learning journeys. Traditional point-based grading systems often focus on compliance and behavior rather than assessing students’ true knowledge and understanding. By shifting the assessment paradigm to one that prioritizes feedback and growth, McLean aims to cultivate a new generation of lifelong learners who embrace challenges, embrace revision, and view learning as a continuous process.

“Shifting how students are assessed and graded will help develop a new generation of learners who understand that learning is a journey and not a destination,” McLean said. “I believe the goal of public education is to help students see the importance of being a lifelong learner which can only be done if students believe they can master any concept even if it takes many attempts, perseverance, and hard work.”

The grant not only recognizes McLeans’s dedication and innovative thinking but also acknowledges the importance of transforming math, science, and technology education for the benefit of students. Her project has the potential to make a lasting impact on how teachers approach assessment and grading, promoting a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.

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