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Scratching My Head: Project 180, Day 129

“The research quite clearly shows that kids who are graded – and have been encouraged to try to improve their grades – tend to lose interest in the learning itself, avoid challenging tasks whenever possible (in order to maximize the chance of getting an A), and think less deeply than kids who aren’t graded,” Kohn explains. “The problem isn’t with how we grade, nor is it limited to students who do especially well or poorly in school; it’s inherent to grading.

“That’s why the best teachers and schools replace grades (and grade-like reports) with narrative reports – qualitative accounts of student performance – or, better yet, conferences with students and parents.”

Already facing a tough decision, my coming across articles like the one above will not make it any easier. At present, I am leaning towards swinging the pendulum back to the center, employing a modified standards-based approach next year instead of going gradeless again. But then I read articles like this, especially with comments like the one above, and I pause. I wonder. Am I on to something here? If I do not see it through and continue along the present course, will I miss an opportunity to truly turn it upside down, to provide a better learning experience for my kids? I don’t know. Questions lead to questions. Answers are elusive. Certainty hides. And I am consumed.

The next 51 days will reveal much. I will have some data to help me my in current quandary. I will have the SBA results. I will have formal feedback from the kids in the form of surveys and reflections. But I will also have my own reflections. And, I will also have my guts, my instincts, which I cannot discount for they helped lead me here in the first place. Admittedly,  it has not been a place that all are willing to see or accept, for, in many ways, it runs counter to convention, it smacks of crazy. And I cannot suggest that it is neither conventional nor crazy. It is. But it is not exclusive. Others feel, practice, and share their crazy unconventionality, too. And I cannot ignore that. Can’t. But for all the comfort it brings, it also brings trepidation as I work through the uncertainty of the path ahead. But I’ll find my way. The journey continues. Always does.

Happy Thursday, all.

2 Replies to “Scratching My Head: Project 180, Day 129”

  • My question for you is what about your gradeless approach are you dissatisfied? As a no grades teacher, who has never been happier teaching, I am curious.

    I know my teaching journey has led me from one pedagogical philosophy to another and it has always been about what’s best for my students. The more I focus on learning, the more I know I’m doing what’s right for my students.

    It is obvious to me you share these thoughts. I’d love to start a dialogue with you. You can DM me via twitter. My handle is @AaronSBlackwel1.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • My first instinct was , no you can’t turn back ! Questions will always arise, doubts will always rear their ugly heads. But what of the progress you have made so far? You had a gut instincts of the direction you would pursue, your own reflections, and students wanting and willing to accept this new approach, and others that support you. But I know that you are a thoughtful person and that you will wrestle with the thoughts that are coming forth, but will always have the best interest of the students and how change affects all . The hill approaching looks steep now but is letting off the gas pedal the right answer? I know you will figure it out.

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