Running blind

What is the purpose of grades?

I would argue that the purpose of grades is not reporting progress or measuring learning.

The purpose of grades is sorting, rewarding and punishing.

Students are sorted based on their grades (honor rolls, class tracking, awards, scholarships, college admissions, diplomas, etc.).

We reward the students who are compliant and punish those who are not. The short-term damage to learning is often severe. The long-term damage to the lives of students is immeasurable.

When you add in to this morass the fact that grades are often arbitrary, capricious, based on a teacher’s whims and whether or not they “like” a student, you paint a really ugly picture.

No wonder so may kids (and parents) hate school.

I am a teacher and love what I do. I hate grading.

I have 2 kids in school right now and I am hating the system more every day. Grading and all of its associated ills are just one aspect of this flawed system that I am growing increasingly weary of. Now that my own children are being negatively impacted by the inherent flaws of the system, my reaction is becoming stronger and more visceral daily.

I often say that I don’t know exactly what the best answers are but I sure can tell what they aren’t.

We are running the wrong direction in America’s schools and doing so as fast as we can… while wearing blindfolds.

running blind