grades (inside and out)

As I’m learning to be a teacher, I have been paying close attention to formative assessment and true growth of students. I was reading this blog post and this one where a teacher teaches that learning is the goal, not grades. It’s so important in the classroom to create the concept that we are here to learn. It’s beyond amazing – but there are a lot of forces against this idea.

Parents put a lot of pressure on their students and teachers so that they get the best grades possible. Yes, parents I have talked to have been very concerned about their child’s learning, but up there is grades. It’s the starting and ending point for many parents, and eventually that gets instilled into the children’s minds. The students stress and grub about grades.

I have been grading a lot lately, and got my first taste at grading backlash. I’m still getting better (and more consistent at grading) but I have flaws (I am human). Even with rubrics it seems like points here and points there are dangling on a fence, and I have to tip them in the right direction. This is difficult, and the students find it difficult.

And there’s been something going on internally as well. I still care about grades. Really I do! I’m still in school – teachers are teaching me to be a teacher. So much in what I do is to see that that number followed by a decimal point and a zero. If it’s a 4.0 I’m relieved, anything lower and there’s a tinge of stress. I’m really trying to fight against this programming in me. Learning should be the focus. It’s what I tell my students. How do I tell myself that?

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3 thoughts on “grades (inside and out)

  1. Pam Wilson says:

    Oddly enough – I had a parent recently share their take on grades. While her children were in school, yes she pushed and wanted the A’s – however, she commented that if they only receive easy grades – are not fully challenged to earn the A’s – it does them no good once they arrive at college. Being able to share where a student stands on a particular concept/skill is much more helpful than any numerical grade book. Averaging is another topic in the 13 fixes book. I love Guskey’s illustration – does it make sense for the Martial Arts student to average their beginning white belt with the final black belt and end up with a gray belt?

    • At the school I’m at, we don’t average grades, it’s where the students end up. The formula is a little more complex than that, but that’s the gist of it. I’ll have to check out the book; I have the summer to get through my backlog before starting my first year!

  2. […] my cohort I have received comments here, of which I have also commented outside the […]

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