ERIC Number: EJ916325
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Reference Count: 3
A Call to Action: Transforming Grading Practices
Erickson, Jeffrey A.
Principal Leadership, v11 n6 p42-46 Feb 2011
At a very early age, students learn the point system and how school can be about the accumulation of points, not the accumulation of knowledge and skills. Grading systems are pervasive in districts across the nation, with questionable results. For example, a southern school district was highlighted in a 2009 Associated Press story for selling test points as a fundraiser--$20 for 20 points, a practice the district quickly halted (Associated Press, 2009). Although this is certainly a creative way to increase revenue, it does little to improve student learning and creates an environment focused on winners--those with lots of points--and losers--those with few. In schools across the United States, planning is well underway for the upcoming year. This is the prime time to assess one's school's grading practice. To start the conversation of "why" in one's building, one should take an inventory of his grading practices. Do they: (1) Focus on learning by providing meaningful feedback?; and (2) Allow students to make mistakes during the learning process and still recover? Simply discussing grading practices transforms a school by inspiring teachers to do even better work in the areas of grading and assessment. But if one is waiting for teachers to commit to new grading practices before making any changes to the old ones, he will have a long wait. Remind them that the stakes for not making any changes are high. In every term that passes, more students receive zeros or are harmed by unfair and ineffective grading practices.
Descriptors: Feedback (Response), Grading, Teaching Methods, Educational Change, Student Evaluation, Teacher Role, Cheating, Integrity, Homework, Educational Policy
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site: http://www.principals.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A