Grades matter more than learning to too many people in our society, including teachers, parents, and students, opines the author of the Speaking Out article in the November/December issue of Principal. It’s understandable how we got to this point. Honor roll caliber students are rewarded for their grades by the community, earning free admission to amusement parks, free pizzas, and discounts on insurance. Our society values statistics so we can compare and form opinions. But do grades reflect what a student has learned and achieved? Not always in the opinion of the author, Kyle Rhoads, principal of Windham Primary School in Windham, Maine.
Rhoads argues for a focus on learning rather than testing by emphasizing formative assessments over grading. Until educators support a culture where learning is emphasized more than testing and grading, teaching will not change. Do you agree that grading systems should report student learning based on formative assessments instead of grades? Is this the solution to improving teaching and learning?