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Essential Question #8

by Alyssa Sullivan


Essential Question #8
What role should assessment play in determining students' grades?

This question brings many thoughts:

  1. What role should grades play, in general?
  2. Do grades motivate students?
  3. Do grades matter?

Truthfully, there seems to be no easy answer. Nevertheless, assessments should be happening regularly in class. However, these assessments do not always need to be worth a grade, and can simply be a part of the learning process.

If used in a formative way, these easily allow for students to self reflect on ways to improve their current score, or they could be used by instructors to improve their teaching skills. If used in a summative way, it may be worth considering taking a grade for the assessment. However, this grade does not have to be concrete. Re-takes or corrections are valuable to the learning process, too.
Truthfully, it may be best to consider altering the way that we think and talk about assessments. Students should know that assessments are important, and valuable for the demonstration of knowledge. But, instructors must also question: does this assessment test knowledge and understanding or does it seek to provide an end and a grade?

In order to change the fear of assessments, or the harm it can do to a grade, it is worth entertaining ideas of standards based grading. This way students have an entire school year to prove their understanding of standards or learning goals.

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