The scariest thing this October isn’t the spooky Halloween costumes or frightful decorations. It’s not haunted houses or zombies.
It’s our grading culture. The Wicked Witch of Education!
Look, there’s been a lot of research on grading and grading systems. Despite the fact that these studies show grades actually demotivate students, we continue to espouse to scoring our students with letter grades, pronouncing proficiency in percentages, embracing grading practices that rarely get our students to 100% of mastery, even though that should be our goal as educators.We can’t let go of them. Grades are our security blankets. They are also the mask we hide behind as educators because they don’t tell the full story and they scare the crap out of our students, and some parents.
A simple change from the word grade to the word feedback would be a great start to making our world of grading a little less scary.
Even paying more attention to category weights in grading would be helpful.
Or not grading every single thing that students complete.
Maybe some parent education could help. I find it’s parents who struggle the most with changes in grading systems.
I’m THAT parent. The one that rarely looks at grades. The one that never asks to see tests or quizzes. The one that doesn’t care about honor roll or G.P.A. I don’t feel any guilt about it. It’s actually pretty liberating. Hopefully, it is for my son as well. I’m not worried about his prospects for college or his class rank. When he does come home with a perfect score on something I say, “oh darn, you didn’t learn anything because you didn’t make any mistakes.”
It’s time for Glenda the Good Witch of Education. Here’s hoping she drops a house on grading and waves her magic wand so educators and parents strive for learning and not a grade.