I’m knee-deep in editing my Kenan Fellowship lessons, but I wanted to share a couple of recent stories that should appeal to many Scripted readers. Regular visitors will know that grading reform is one of my pet projects, and I follow news about it pretty closely. This week, I came across two very interesting posts:
This article from the Huffington Post’s Education section started off with some implied criticism of a large school system creating a “failures are not acceptable” approach. However, a few days later, with feedback from the district leadership, the article was amended to make it clear that “no zeroes” does not mean that students will be automatically given passing grades.
I think that the story does a good job of bringing to light one of the more critical aspects of this grading reform: responsibility. The district is taking responsibility for failing students, and taking a stand on allowing students to withdraw from their own education. Many disagree with this stance, and these educators and pundits love to reminisce about a better time when families reinforced the importance of education at home and every student achieved at their highest potential… and they rode unicorns across rainbows to get to school each day. These “good old days” never happened. We simply chose to ignore those who failed to perform.
And now we refuse to do so.
This article from Converge Magazine (the magazine of the Center for Digital Education), does a pretty good job of laying out the justification for many current standards-based grading systems. The author uses the transition taking place in the Clear Creek Amana Community School District in Iowa as a model for what can be done to make grades more reflective of the learning taking place, and thereby serve as a more useful form of communication with parents and other stakeholders.
Read these and then tell me what you think. Is grading reform turning a corner?