Grades; Who Needs Them
When I first learned of this idea I thought this was not the way to go about a change in our educational system. After thinking about it for a while I started to soften on my stance.
A local CBS affiliate in San Anselmo California, KPIX, reported on a private school in the San Francisco Bay area that is implementing a system in which their students would eventually not be graded on their knowledge of a class’s material using the A –F grading system.
The Director of the school was quoted in the article stating:
The grading system is pretty broken
Due to their belief that the grading system is broken they are exploring a concept where their student’s would not be given grades on some of their classes but instead they would be given a review by their teacher on their mastery of the material.
Apparently there are about a 100 schools nationwide that are exploring this transcript system. In fact Michigan has a private school, Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, which has implemented this system in some form.
Cecily Stock, who leads the school in the San Francisco Bay area was also quoted in the article stating:
It’s about gaming the system, students no longer care about learning the information it’s about getting the A. This will not cause students to stop thriving. If anything it will make efforts feel more worthwhile and the assessments more authentic.
There is a group called The Mastery Transcript Consortium which has an example of what a sample transcript for a graduating student would look like. On their website they have a pie chart as part of the transcript which illustrates what skills the student has mastered. As part of the transcript the student is evaluated on mastering a subject and they show descriptions of their earned credits tailored to that individual.
I have been advocating for years that we should evaluate how we teach and grade our students and implement a different approach. An approach, which some might think is radical, in which we would possibly change the way we educate our children from a completely different approach.
I do believe that children do study a class’s material with an emphasis on grading and not really understanding the material and how they could and would apply it in real life. As the official from the school stated, children our learning the material to pass a test and not really understand it. I believe that I myself was probably doing that exact same thing. I was concerned about my grades and not necessarily the material.
One of the concerns I have is how would and could universities and colleges evaluate those children that want to move on to college when considering who to accept into their institutions.
This idea is an approach that I believe needs a serious review by educational experts, experts who believe that the children should come first before the state and the adults in the educational business.