What an important debate now that many districts are moving towards standards-based grades considering the implementation of the CCSS. Right now, I feel that grades are a reflection of doing. What are my kids doing? They are participating. They are writing papers; they are taking notes. They are doing these things on time. They do them fairly well with support and guidance.
What we need to know as educators (…and as parents, as community members, and as college administrators…) is what kids are know-ing. Does the student know how to perform the skill? Has the student acquired the skill? Is the student proficient at performing the skill? Has the student mastered the skill? How can we tell?
Yes, this requires a paradigm shift that every non-educator in government and politics must buy into. I may be nihilistic, But I don’t foresee that happening–not anytime soon anyway. People get scared. Without a grade how do we KNOW what kids are DOING??? Note the sarcasm, please. I would trade grades in any day for a portfolio of information that is actually helpful and accurate. And gives me a more definitive idea of what my kids KNOW.