We need a new way to assess academic progress
by This Grace
It’s easy to see why many of us find discussing the merits of grading, and how it should be done, a hot-button issue. If you’re like most parents, an 8, a 10, or a 12 looks pretty damn good, right?
Of course. And that’s what it should. But those grades don’t tell us much about someone’s character. They don’t tell us if someone comes to school on time, and doesn’t come home with crumbs on their teeth. Most importantly, those grade are not indicators of someone’s character.
We see too much grading on the side of naughty or nice on TV and in print media. It’s ridiculously inaccurate, and leads us down the road to a false sense of security. Grading styles are redefined each year, and that’s okay. But teachers shouldn’t just recommend the same course, year after year, taking a 10, an 8, a 12, and saying it’s all right if you want to take the hardest class or not.
It shouldn’t be that way. We should be able to create and maintain the type of education that is right for the individual. After all, we’re all individuals. In the wrong hands, that academic guidance can become a heavy burden to kids and parents, as they struggle to make sense of their grades. But I think it’s important to set a new standard for most educators, starting with me.
Like most educators, I have been concerned with grading for some time. And I think that most educators feel the same way, because a large number of them attend the same type of school as I do, and the question about how to make grading more fair has been repeatedly raised.
I believe the reason why this concern is so significant is that grading is – at least to me – the most misunderstood part of school. It’s the one aspect of schooling that’s easy to skip over.
But behind every grade is someone’s life story. Behind every grade is a potential challenge. Behind every grade is an opportunity. It’s the reason that students sit for an infinite number of exams – whether they earn them or not. Those students aren’t just simply re-scoring the same test over and over again. They are doing math or reading a book or acting a scene, the most basic things any teacher knows are valuable experiences that can help develop their personal growth.
Teachers can do well. And it’s not just about grades. It’s about everything.
MindShift is a Digital Agency, specializing in personalized digital storytelling that results in shared intelligence and meaningful results for clients across multiple industries, from education to healthcare to marketing. Founded in 2013, MindShift is a member of MassChallenge NYC’s Class of 2015 and operates offices in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Toronto.