Why Grades Stop Learning

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Teachers Throwing Out Grades on Facebook

Consider what education consultant Mike Rulon says, kicking off a lively Facebook discussion.

Teachers Throwing Out Grades Facebook Group
Teachers Throwing Out Grades Facebook Group

In a dynamic discussion about the failings of grades, educators from around the world explained their frustration with traditional number and letter grades and how they long for an alternative system, in this Facebook group: Teachers Throwing Out Grades.

According to Liisa Pinta, when considering narrative feedback over grades, many teachers believe they don’t have time to write feedback. However, as Pinta explains, teachers spend “endless hours on adding points together” for various activities. She also indicates that often feedback is provided verbally. Verbal feedback ignites conversation about learning and turns students into self-evaluative independent learners.

Rulon quotes the research of Dylan Wiliam, who studied feedback for decades. Wiliam’s work indicates that when feedback is given alongside a number of letter grade, students gravitate to the grade, completely ignoring the feedback. This perpetuates an “I-only-care-about-the-grade” attitude, which eliminates any real learning. Soon, students will do anything to earn a “good” grade, so they fail to consider why they are completing activities and projects. This is education’s biggest problem–one that is largely ignored.

This inspirational discussion continues at the Teachers Throwing Out Grades Facebook group. Read more and join this amazing collection of global educators–all fighting to transform education by eliminating traditional number and letter grades.

Also, you can add you thoughts in our comment section below.

For more on how to make real change in education, please check out my book, Assessment 3.0: How to Throw Out Your Grade Book and Revolutionize Learning (Corwin, 2015).

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books and other series 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 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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