Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What If We Didn't Have Grades Part 2

After your thoughtful responses to the earlier post, I thought we should follow it up with this one. Once again, this is just to push our thinking a little bit, not actually proposing anything. And - again - please limit yourself to answering the question that is asked.
Thought Experiment: What is your greatest hope about what could happen if we did away with grades?


  1. Two hopes:

    1. That students would stop searching for answers and start looking for questions.
    2. That teachers would be coaches instead of judges.

  2. My greatest hope would be that it would break the barriers of grades, so that there would no longer be honors kids, "stupid" kids, and all the other limiting stereotypes grades can put on us. Breaking those barriers and groups would not only help the flow of ideas and learning between everyone, but also teach us how to communicate in the career world, where the only grades of significance are employed and unemployed.

  3. Molly, here you are, a student commenting on our blog for no reason but that you enjoy the conversation. Thank you for offering your opinion. Perfect example of doing that isn't for a grade.
    (I'm following Kristin's lead with the 2 hopes)

    1) I hope...teachers would stop worrying about kids' motivations (we have to deal with those that don't work now, so what's the difference?)**I have seen deflated, angry, lazy kids change to kids with confidence that they can learn the material and do well in an English class. Why did I think I needed to PUNISH students for not doing?

    2)I hope... teachers would stop feeling so justified about giving students 0's. Don't we want them to learn our content more than timeliness?

  4. My greatest hope is that students would be working for their own good and not to try to please the teacher or their parents with good grades. It might make them think what they want to get out of the class besides a letter. For many students, the lasting memory of what they did in that class is determined by one letter.

  5. My greatest hope is that kids would come to class wanting to read literature, making connections to the world and themselves because they see the extensions of reading go far beyond the text, and that it would be a giant coninuous conversation with one another challenging and enhancing each other's learning and experiences. Of course, all of this would take place at a cozy couch at Starbucks with endless flowing carmel machiattos or carmel light frapuccinnos

  6. Without the constraints of grades, I would love the time and freedom to let kids be at different levels. Kids who love biology and understand the content could move forward into areas they found interesting. I could spend more time with kids who needed it rather than giving them a D on the test and moving on. Like Kristin said, students could look for questions, not answers.

  7. Kristin hit it on the head, especially with students looking for questions.

    The coaching piece got me thinking. Coaching for what end? Each soccer season, I know that everything we do, try, and say is intended to help the team reach a tangible goal...usually a state championship. Teams that win it all tend to be the teams that become "constructionist" teams where they own the team and coaches really do take a back seat by the time you get to the championship. We make subs, help them see opportunities, yall a bit at officials, and cheerlead some. They take responsibility for motivation, being prepared to play, holding each other accountable.

    With students, if that goal is them asking questions, then what? In A.P., it is easier to take that role due to a national exam goal where all are working together to get to that pint in a way that all have the most chance for success. How do we translate that into other classes where goals presently are often less concrete? The problem lies in my belief that we aren't teaching for a goal that can be reached at the end of the term. We are creating lifelong learners and our goals won't truly be recognized until our students hav lived their lives in a way that shows they got it...or we didn't.