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People are passionate, anxious about eliminating grades in school

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I have spent a good portion of the past two weeks responding to comments on a debate I started on the TED.com Conversations page called, “Isn’t it time to eliminate grades in education?” Since narrative feedback over grades is such a huge part of the Results Only Learning Environment, I wanted to see what others thought about the subject. The response has been overwhelming.

The debate is closing in on 600 comments. The range of feedback is remarkable, and many countries are represented (this, of course, is emblematic of TED). Some people are completely supportive of the elimination of grades and of results-only learning, while others are completely convinced that education can’t survive without numbers and letters.

Along the way, I’ve learned is that people all over the world are passionate about education. Some people have left 10 or more comments, even creating debates of their own within my TED conversation. It’s also obvious that although many are in favor of some kind of reform movement, they are still nervous about it.

What surprises me is that an idea so simple is being so intensely debated. I sort of expected people to just sign in and say, “Yes, you’re right. Let’s eliminate grades.”

Hopefully, this is the beginning of a legitimate movement.

More from this TED.com debate later.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 130,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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