Saturday, March 20, 2010

Grades: What's The Point?

So it's report card weekend. For those of you who don't think the whole world revolves around the school bus and lunch schedules, it's my least favorite weekend every nine weeks.

I frantically search through late work kids turned in and award as many points as I can. I then enter grades into an "objective" computer program. I then complete checklists and write comments for every students.

So during this dreaded weekend I feel guilty if I'm doing anything except the above mentioned activities.

Now if I believed that these report cards were a real measure of students growth and progress I'm pretty sure the rock in the pit of my stomach would alleviate. I don't believe for a moment that these grades present a real picture of anything except who has mastered the school game called "grades." In fact last week when I looked over grades to that point all students who were earning Ds or Fs either lacked home support or organizational skills or manifest a significant learning issue. So basically kids get penalized for stuff over which they have limited or no control. On the other hand there are many kids who put forth minimal effort who look like shining stars. I find this all sooooo frustrating!

And now I'm going back to the stack of late work to plug in grades so that some kids will be given an over-inflated view of themselves and other students will be completely deflated.

And so I ask, what's the point?