Do grades really have a place in 2015?

I’m sitting here tonight filling in grades in our online reporting system and really struggling with the point to it. Numerous studies claim that grades lead to a fixed mindset and don’t help children learn. I have witnessed first hand how grades can destroy a child’s confidence and willingness to even try and achieve something. And not just with those children who get the low grades; often those who get the top grades suffer just as much with the ‘what if I don’t get an A?’ syndrome.

I am just baffled as to why we continue to label something which is so hard to define with a single letter or number. How can the sum total of all our knowledge be defined in such a flippant way? Why do we as educators allow it? Why do parents get so hung up on grades?

To me learning is a continual process that cannot, and should not, be so easily labelled. It can have such long-lasting, devastating repercussions on someone’s self-belief. Everyone has different skills and everyone develops at different rates. I bet if you look at most adults you would not even be able to guess what grades they got in school. We all reach a fairly similar standard in the end.

My classroom next year will be a grade-free zone but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a learning, progress-making, what-are-the-next-steps zone.

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