Grades are meant to be representative of a child’s progress. If a student is doing well, they receive an A or B, 3’s or 4’s. Often overlooked is the actual measure of progress: feedback.
The first time I was introduced to the idea of ‘going gradeless’ I was intrigued. At that time I had been teaching for 12 years, and had recently taken a job as an instructional resource teacher at our school board. Colleagues of mine were working with a group of teachers who wanted to explore the … Continue reading De-emphasizing Grades in Secondary Science: A Shift in Perspective
Lately, I've seen gradeless teachers sharing frustrations about student procrastination as they have eliminated grades and lightened up on due dates. They are bothered because some students wait until the end of the semester to turn in artifacts and prioritize other classes who have strict due dates. This makes it difficult for the classroom teacher to provide meaningful feedback that produces growth.
While the benefits of a gradeless classroom are attractive, with feedback and discussion replacing numbers and ‘fire and forget’ assignments and introspection and intrinsic motivation supplanting whinging and grade grubbing, we all know that cultural norms and expectations (of students, parents, administrators, and teachers) can cause anxiety and distract from effective implementation
If I asked you to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the place where you feel like your most authentic self, where would you find yourself? What would surround you? Who would be there? What would this place sound like? What would it feel like? What kinds of things are explored there? Now imagine … Continue reading Cultivating Culture
The process of building a portfolio and reflecting on one’s work allows students to demonstrate their best work and participate in the evaluation process, making the teacher’s role more of a facilitator or guide.
I explained the importance of giving students feedback, but realized it wouldn't be much use, since there really was no opportunity for improvement. It was more about making sure each student had met each standard. She pressed me further, “but why do you need to be the judge of that? Have them evaluate it themselves.”