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.