Posted by: Kate | November 2, 2009

Valuable or Buzz-Word of the Day?

I was telling my mum about a class Bush Boy is taking, where they are building machines after discussing what criteria they will use. She said that was a new word to her, criteria.

Education is often finding buzz words, and criteria is one of the latest words to surface. A criterion is defined as a standard, rule or test on which a judgement or decision can be based. Criteria in education is just that — standards that need to be met. As mum and I were talking, we thought that in the past, teachers would simply say this is what your essay must contain, or here is what I expect. Now, teachers are being taught to talk about the criteria for an essay or assignment.

Does it make a difference? Well, perhaps it helps educators more clearly define what they want from their students. If it helps set a standard for requirements across the board, then perhaps it is a good word to introduce to students. I think understanding that there are criteria for every assignment and task that are universally applied in the classroom, or grade level, or program, can help a student see that he or she is dealt with fairly and equally.

In the long run, however, it will be in how the word is used. Over-usage with little meaning will turn this into just another buzz word that fades away as another fad style of teaching comes in. Proper usage will create a useful term for many years to come.

(Some educators have of course been using this word for decades, especially in the sciences. Now it seems to be a word used in all facets of education.)


Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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