Grades are the Currency of School.

Last night I was in a 4 hour night class on assessment and evaluation. During the long drawn out evening we discussed our many assignments and readings about assessment and evaluation. During a group discussion my table began to talk about the importance of having a grade on a report card. It is usually mandatory that all teachers provide percentage or letter grades for report cards. In this class we are taught that it is wrong to base one’s learning on a grade. It is not fair to the student; especially if the student takes more time to master or understand the particular concept being taught.

In more discussion with our teacher our group argued that grades are important and they are incentive for students to do well. In response our teacher said “ya but why do you feel this way? shouldn’t learning something be your incentive?” The whole table disagreed that we are not wanting to learn for the sake of learning, but in fact our motivation is based on a percentage grade. This doesn’t make any sense.  Grades make school a competition, they create a gap between the smart kids and the kids who may be struggling in school. Just like the rich and the poor. Grades are the currency of school.



8 thoughts on “Grades are the Currency of School.

  1. It is tricky. I think that as a teacher, if I absolutely HAVE TO grade, I would prefer to grade each kid according to their abilities, to their progress.
    But I agree that grades will always come in the way of truly enjoying education and being motivated just by learning process.

  2. By the way, I really like your blog. Very thought provoking. You could be even more interactive by adding pictures, videos or external links. I especially like how the post on texting starts with a pix. Way to go!

  3. I go a step further and indict grades as not only the currency of school, but school’s drug of choice. If we wanted to establish a way to snuff our and discourage children from developing an intrinsic love for learning, I could not think of a better system than our grading practices.

    I abolished grading from my classroom years ago. Here’s what I have found:

    And here’s my De-grading FAQ:


    • Thanks Joe,

      It’s nice to see a way that this can be done, I am currently in univeristy and we are being taught that grades aren’t necessary and why, but no realy effort has been made to show how to make this possible in our future classrooms.


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