This article is refreshingly about solutions rather than qualms. Let's not just discuss changes, let's make them! There are some very specific ways we can accomplish all the necessary elements of teaching without grades, so why not try? There is a myriad of useful thoughts here for anyone looking to get on board.
Even though the research and evidence regarding letter grades can be damning, there are still many people who advocate for their use in schools. While this article does not agree with those skeptics, it does illustrate the viewpoints of those who would like to keep the system as it is. Are grades really inevitable or are we in charge of our own educational destiny?
Before you can judge something, you must try to understand it. Grading is not different. The history of how grades developed in American culture is an interesting one. The earliest model of education which produced the likes of Thomas Jefferson always functioned on a pass/fail grading system with deep connections to the student/teacher relationship. The story of how our nation transitioned to a more impersonal system is a fascinating one and a great anecdote to share with students! Read on!
For those who sense letter grades are a harmful rather than helpful measure, this article will affirm those feelings with solid evidence. Several excellent points are made here about why grades are problematic and often unfairly represent a young person's ability.
You will not find a bashing of letter grades here. Possibly the smartest way to approach this issue is to compromise…a letter grade can serve a purpose, especially if it is supported by conferencing and commentary. Because report cards are a permanent record, educators really need to think about how this assessment too can best serve the interest of a student's future.
Before leading a discussion on letter grades (or even forming a personal opinion), it's important to consider why grades are given in the first place. We want parents and students to improve their learning strategies and their ability to meet academic goals. maybe letter grades are, in fact, needed to accomplish this feat. But perhaps under the guise of assessment we are really just offering a system of rewards and punishments that have little do with what students have actually learned.
Grades are considered by some to be "relics from a less enlightened age,"and not only unnecessary but harmful. Does the learning become about the grade rather than the interest in learning itself? Many suggest conferencing with students and parents while offering an evaluating narrative is the best strategy. Whatever the answer may be, it's high time educators started examining the efficacy of this tradition.
The question of whether schools are holding themselves back from fully pursuing best practices in education through grading is well explored here. The discussion around moving beyond letter grades is heating up but there's not an easy solution. There is various resistence to change among all involved in the process and considerable work to be done in order to make a meaningful shift.
BloomBoard Asks:With all the technological progress already made in this century, is this really still our best assessment option or just another glaring example of how education is living in the dark ages?