I stumbled across @joe_bower ‘s blog yesterday – the aptly named For the Love of Learning – and had a field day reading all of his work. It reminded me of a feeling I began to have very strongly three years ago. However, due to pressures of the system, I wandered away from it.
I really want to do away with grades. Students need mentoring and formative feedback, not judgement!
I’ve spent the last three years wandering through the woods of assessment. I’ve read Stiggins, Marzano, Kohn and others. In a lot of ways, this all just left me unsure as to what was the “right” grading method.
I thought standards based grading ala Marzano was the answer. It was better in some ways and worse in others. I felt like I was doing a lot more work, and yet students were even more confused about why they got the grade they did then they had been before. No matter how many times I explained it, I still had students ask me “how many points is this worth?” Standards based grading was better in the sense that it wasn’t about points, but rather measurements of skills and knowledge.
No matter what I do, though, grading remains the least fulfilling part of my job. I love teaching and I fully understand that, for now, grades are a significant part of my job. The crucial question is this:
If I love teaching, why do I abhor grading, which is one of the traditional keystones of teaching ?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because grading gets in the way of learning. If my job is not about the facilitation of learning then I need to get another job!