I have written a previous post on grading called The Potential of Success talking about my fear of failure in writing this blog. Well, I was right, I haven’t been posting twice a week as I promised myself, but I am still posting twice a week as much as I can. I have “failed” as I set out on goals, but I am no longer afraid of “failure,” I know I will continue to improve, and in the meantime, do the best I can.
But just as the letter “F” scares me, upon reflection, I don’t know what the other letters mean. My understanding is that “A” means I couldn’t have done better and “F” means I couldn’t have done worse, but can’t I always do better and worse? I actually made this comment on a post about teacher feedback by Starr Sackstein and then realized I may have stumbled upon something.
Starr bounced off of the realization that grades were not good for students, and thus teachers should be given more than a “satisfactory” as well. Administrators should give feedback instead of words with no real meaning.
I realized that, even though we have realized that grades are not beneficial to students, our society is still based off of them. A percentage of correct answers on a multiple choice test gives some information, but even that doesn’t tell a student what he or she is struggling with. Instead, teachers should begin changing the importance of grading by giving feedback and emphasizing the importance of this feedback to students and parents.
While some students will still make sure to always get As in school, this may be most beneficial to the students who are failing. Encouraging them to find out what they did well in may encourage them to improve other areas. Rather than focusing on the “F” on their paper, encourage them to focus on the sentences that outline the strength of their idea, their ability to be creative, or even as simple as their understanding of a certain aspect of grammar. It would be nearly impossible to do everything wrong, but an “F” can send this message across.