I am required to grade a certain number of assignments each “grading period”, so I will do that and do my best to get the grades into HAC (Home Access Center) on a regular basis.
What grades do:
Grades provide the following information:
- How a student did on a particular assignment on a particular date.
- Report card grades often average in earlier “mistakes” with later successes.
- Consistently low grades may send up a red flag that a student needs additional support.
What grades don’t do:
Grades do NOT provide the following information very well:
- Whether or to what degree a student is showing growth.
- Whether a student is persistent.
- Whether a student asks good questions.
- Whether a student collaborates well.
- Averaging report card grades sometimes diminishes evidence of current mastery.
I don’t even like to share grades with students because grades can cause stress and aren’t always particularly helpful to the student. They also tend to send the wrong message - that grades, rather than learning is the point of what we do. A student who consistently makes good grades (or is described as “smart”) may hesitate to try more challenging work for fear of losing his or her status as “the smart one”. A student who consistently makes bad grades may define him- or herself as “not smart” and give up on learning. “Smart” and “not smart” seem cast in stone (fixed mindset), whereas “persistent”, “courageous”, “curious”, “thoughtful” and “inquisitive” (growth mindset) are under the student’s control. I prefer to provide students with feedback on what they are doing well and what they should work on.