Denver educator Julia E. Torres explores how going gradeless can serve the large context of equity, liberation, and student empowerment/autonomy.
My career in the classroom has inspired some classic teacher nightmares. In my dreams, I show up very late for the first day of school only to discover that my grade level has been switched. I ride the bus to school in my pajamas. (Actually, that was Spirit Week.) I teach a class of forty-three … Continue reading Motivation Matters
The maxim “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” (often misattributed to Peter Drucker) sums up the continued belief in the necessity and power of accountability. A lack of accountability is seen as a sure path to lawlessness, indolence, and corruption. We don’t trust people who are unwilling, unprepared, or otherwise unable to … Continue reading It’s Time We Hold Accountability Accountable
Procrastination is such a dirty word. In our competitive, production minded society, procrastinating is a sin, but I have always been a procrastinator. There is something about waiting until the last minute that is alluring and exhilarating: the adrenaline rush, the caffeine binge, the loss of sleep. Despite all those thrilling benefits, I have rarely … Continue reading What Happened When I Procrastinated Giving Grades
In our dream we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of … Continue reading From Hostility to Community
Sports as Metaphor Formative assessment and standards-based learning enthusiasts often seize on the metaphor of coaching to describe a better approach to feedback, assessment, and grading. I myself have employed this metaphor many times. Here’s a post I wrote a few months ago: This feedback cycle is not unlike the process used by coaches to prepare players for an upcoming … Continue reading School Without Scoreboards
Five years ago, I was presented with an opportunity to teach an evening education course at Eastern Washington University. Already wearing too many hats as a high school English teacher, department chair, district literacy leader, multiple-committee member, husband, father, and the list goes on, I didn’t immediately jump at the chance. But after a weekend-long … Continue reading Gradeless: A Culture of Possibility