It used to be that I spent Sunday mornings with a cup of tea and the newspaper. Now, I’m typically catching up with the posts that are in my reader and enjoying leisurely conversations online around all matter of things. Yesterday, a number of people were tweeting and blogging about grades, grading, and report cards. Then I went to a Christening for my friend’s baby and bumped into a former colleague of mine. She’s in the midst of report card renovation as well, so the conversation continued there, and it led to the question in my post title.
Tell me what you think: are grades meaningless? If so, when? If not, how? How do grades serve kids best? When do they hurt? What needs to happen in order to create grading practices that accomplish what we need them to for our students? What would happen if we ditched grades entirely? Are there other ways to motivate kids and communicate about their growth without using grades?
I know a number of people who would happily forego assigning grades if they felt they had support in doing so. I know others who tremble in fear whenever this possibility is voiced. I don’t have any answers, but I’m interested in your opinions, and I’d love to learn more about what teachers and schools are doing to improve their grading practices.