Grading Under a New Perspective

Stop giving students a letter or percentage grade, and instead give an evaluation that focuses around the student as a whole.

Photo of Anna fucarino
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Most schools today function under either a letter or a percentage grade. These grades, though, only show an average, and provide little to no information about the students themselves; we're basically evaluating a student's academic career with a measly letter or number. This type of grading system gives parents little insight to how their child actually functions in school, distancing parents from a child's academic life. Overall, this system is highly flawed because it shows almost nothing about who the student is under a learning and working environment, and lacks focus on crucial human elements that can be applied into the real world, such as teamwork, creativeness, and problem solving. My proposal is this: instead of grading students we give them an evaluation revolving around how they find solutions to problems, work with other classmates, their roles as leaders and/or followers, their effort and engagement, their behavior, and their growth. This type of grading system would dramatically change the amount of trust and communication between schools and parents, as parents are now able to better understand their child in relation to school. Not only that, but we would be able to help students succeed in a better fashion because we'd have a better understanding of what is going on, and how we may be able to individually help the student in the best way possible. This grading system would also allow students to become better individuals because it encourages students to focus in these areas, which are becoming more and more crucial in modern society. Finally, this system would also allow students to understand where they are, who they are, and how they can become greater. In conclusion, this new grading system would allow teachers, parents, and students grasp a better understanding of a student's performance and themselves as a whole and guide them further to success based on this knowledge.

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

Throughout my life as a student, I didn't know why I was getting the grades that I was getting, or how I could improve as an individual. I also thought that my parents were extremely distant from my school life, and didn't really know what I did on day to day basis at school. Furthermore, I also thought that the GPA system was highly flawed, and distanced teachers and students even more by shifting my priorities from learning to grades. I want to try and change this.

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Photo of Rebecca Peters

Hi Anna! I love your thoughts on this topic, and it's an issue that more and more people are starting to recognize as inherently flawed. The way you described the new system reminded me of 360 feedback in organizations like Google, where people get feedback from people on their team, customers, managers, etc, in order to get a full picture of that person's contribution. I also love the idea of replacing a 'measly' letter grade with deeper feedback and next steps - students are far more invested in revisions and continuing work on projects or assignments before a grade is assigned, because that is such a signal that the work is over. I think the time is right to start making these changes and am so glad you want to pursue it!