Are Traditional Grades a Thing of the Past? (page 2)

Are Traditional Grades a Thing of the Past?

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Updated on Nov 5, 2010

Reactions to Grading for Learning

Harder calls Grading for Learning “more of a philosophy,” and one that meant changes both in and out of the classroom. The program was a bit of a hard sell at first, and student scores dropped without the padding of non-academic points. But ultimately, Grading for Learning does seem to be making a difference. Data from the 2007/2008 to 2008/2009 school years showed a “significant” positive increase in the correlation between students’ grades and their performance on state standardized tests. And Ellis parents eventually came around: parent/teacher communication resulted in parents having a better understanding of where their child’s knowledge was in a subject. Frequent collaboration involving parents, students, teachers, administrators and guidance counselors guarantees that modifications are constantly being made to the program. “We realized that we were really changing a local culture of education,” Harder says. Grading for Learning has been expanded to cover approximately 900 Ellis Middle School 6th-8th graders, and plans are in the works to adapt the program for elementary and secondary students.

Harder is aware that this sort of change takes time. “We realize it will be many years . . . before this is a part of standard practice,” he says. But Harder and his colleagues see this as just the beginning of a larger shift in education:  “School is learning, not the amassing of points.”

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