Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Is it about the grade or the learning?

I have had several conversations with parents and other people involved in education regarding grades.  I think we have talked this topic to death over Twitter and other mediums.  To me it comes down to a simple question.  Is it about the grade or the learning?  To most unfortunately it's about the grade, and I guess it's hard to argue when colleges and universities base entrance predominantly on the GPA.  Although this might be slowly changing - recently 48 New England area colleges are now accepting standards based grade reports.  These reports do not report a grade, instead they report the progress of a student in regards to a specific skill or standard.

Shouldn't success be determined by the learning and not the grade?  It is too bad that the grade tends to trump the learning that occurs.  I have seen this first hand where students will intentionally dodge more difficult courses so that they don't risk their perfect GPA.  Is this what we really want?  Kids that choose not to take risks because of the impact to their grades?  I think standards based grading switches the focus from the grade to the learning. If grades aren't attached kids are more willing to take risks.  To me as a parent I want to know how my child is doing on specific skills rather than grade that tells me very little.


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