Art education is supposed to cultivate and spur the seeds of creativity, not water them down with subjective evaluations of your worth.
Jeff is an English Language Arts teacher at Hillcrest High School in Riverside, California. Over his 14 years in teaching, he has taught at 3 high schools, chaired two departments, and served on several different committees. Recently, Jeff decided to use summative conferencing in his class and learned a lot about his students. In this … Continue reading The Impact of Grades w/Jeff Frieden – TG²Cast Episode 13
This post originally appeared on the Pennsylvania Teachers Advisory Committee (PTAC) Blog. PTAC endeavors to connect the voices of highly-recognized teachers in Pennsylvania with educational decision makers. About eight years ago an administrator started a faculty meeting by asking the question, “Why are so many of our students unable to pass the state Keystone exams … Continue reading The Unintended Consequences of Grades
As a teacher/activist, Julia Torres's work is grounded in empowering students to use the Language Arts to fuel resistance and positive social transformation. Ms. Torres facilitates workshops and professional conversations about anti-racist education, social justice, and culturally sustaining pedagogies.
Taking away grades signals a fundamental change in the power dynamics of a classroom, and students need to be supported in order to thrive.
In a gradeless classroom, students are expected to be creative, take risks, fail, and learn from their mistakes in the name of improving themselves and gaining knowledge. In my classroom, students assess their own work and one another's.
Much of the evidence for the gradeless movement focuses on its positive effect on students, as it should. However, when reflecting on the impact of deciding to shift away from traditional grading practices, I realize how much it taught me.
As I was planning my return to the classroom in the winter and spring of 2017, I found myself doing as much reading as I could to learn the different ways to teach students more effectively.
Grades are meant to be representative of a child’s progress. If a student is doing well, they receive an A or B, 3’s or 4’s. Often overlooked is the actual measure of progress: feedback. If you want to tackle objectives for a student, look no further than descriptive notes that highlight strengths and weaknesses.
It made sense to me that kids should not be labeled with numbers. With every new story that was shared, I became more interested. Despite this, I was certain of one thing: