I just finished posting my grades for report cards which will be going out on Wednesday.  What a relief!  But it is often with a hesitant click, that I post those final grades.  Did I put enough time in?  Did I miss anything?  Did I write enough in the comments?  Will the parents agree?  Do I have enough evidence to support what I’ve posted?  Of course, I have put in the time and have the evidence, but the doubts kick in.  Why?  Well, because I’m not sure those grades are really the best way for me to reflect what students have learned.

I often wonder about report cards…and grades.   Putting a number or a check to a name and a subject – is it really the best way to show a student’s growth?  Sure it is ONE way, but is it the best?

I have students who are starting to really challenge themselves in class.  Can a one sentence comment amidst the numbers and checks truly show the greatness of that?

I have students who are really struggling to read material that is two levels below the expected.  Is a number with a key going to suggest my urgency to help this child?

Of course, there are parent phone calls and meetings, extra support and enrichment activities.  I just know how much importance is put on the report card in our society and wonder if our emphasis is on the right stuff.

I play this conversation in my head every time report card grades are due.

Joe Bower is a teacher in Alberta, Canada and he has done a lot of work to abolish grading in his teaching.  His ideas are well respected and worth checking out.

And so I throw it out to you:  Please let me know your thoughts on grades…