Hawk Talk‎ > ‎

The Case Against Grades

posted May 25, 2013, 11:09 AM by nlaskowski@sjusd.org   [ updated May 25, 2013, 11:16 AM ]
What do you think of grades?  Are they helpful measures that empower families to support students in meaningful ways or frustrating external controls that discourage students of all stripes?  
Educational Leadership's November 2011 issue

Hoover's Curriculum Council (a team of the chairs of curricular departments and administrators who meet every three weeks) has been studying the research on assessment and grades published in Educational Leadership.  

Alfie Kohn gives a particularly scathing review of grades in the article, "The Case Against Grades."  Kohn argues that grades put student's focus on how they will be measured rather than on how they will learn.  In a pithy line, he suggests, "grading for learning is, to paraphrase a 1960s-era slogan, rather like bombing for peace" (31).  He instead advocates grade-less schools where possible, and asking students to suggest their own grade where grades are still required.  Teachers, Kohn says, should give students feedback on work, but not give grades to individual assignments.  

Do grades help students learn or make learning tedious?  Should teachers at Hoover experiment with eliminating grades or ask students to suggest their own grades?  Will families be able to support their students in the absence of grades?