Coming to this conference must be getting me fired up. In response to Chris Bigenho’s blog about helping students become self-regulated learners, I had this to say:
It is ridiculous to grade students in this day and age. In the educational revolution that is happening NOW, we need to topple this statue, and we need to do so forcefully and publicly.
Teachers need to band together and insist that grades give way to digital portfolios, which are far better communicators of what a student has achieved, understood and is capable of than a letter or number grade.
How to do this? Quite simple: every teacher gives every student an A, for all work, tests, assessments and course grades. But most importantly, we insist and help the students create online portfolios of their work.
What stands in the way? Fear. Fear that if we don’t use grades as motivators, the kids will stop working. Fear that parents will protest. (THAT would be a sight, wouldn’t it? all those parents protesting that their children got too many A’s?) Fear that administration would fire us.
But if grades are OUR language to communicate to the world what a child has done in OUR class, then we can take back control over how that language is used. It is a deeply flawed and outdated language and it is time that we – as educators!- put it to rest!