Recently, I came across a video that was introduced to me a few years ago. As a leader, I’ve used this video for many different purposes to bring a voice to different messages that I was trying to convey. Sometimes, the obvious is really hard to see.
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In order to make a change, you have to admit there’s a need to change. That’s hard. This time, it IS about the nail. The nail is hurting us as educators. It’s giving us headaches and snagging our sweaters. It’s cause for constant conversation about how to make this assignment worth enough points in order make sure a student will receive what I believe she should receive. This time, it’s about the grade.
As educators, we have deeply rooted beliefs about how we should grade students. I know that. I also know that we struggle with this every day. We’ve done the same thing for over 100 years in American education. Pause for a minute, think about the changes that have positively impacted our society since 1916.
But, we’re still holding true to the same beliefs about how we educate students and grade student work. This is a big conversation. However, it’s a conversation that will change everything you do as an educator, for the better.
The answer is right in front of us: stop grading.
Yep, I said it. And, it’s amazing. When I stopped grading and started providing feedback, I found more learning. When I shifted my focus from the grade to the skill, I could have real conversations with students about how they can improve. Because, that’s the goal. Right? Learning. I stopped teaching and grading. I started talking to students about where they were at this moment in time and how to get better. I focused on learning.
We cannot be afraid to do something different because of the sacred-cow syndrome. Click To Tweet
Now, I know I’m making this sound like a magical place where everyone is excited about learning and getting the “A” isn’t a worry. But, it isn’t. People question. I have to explain. Some understand the shift. Others do not, yet. But, I started the conversation. As educators, we need to do that. Start the conversation about what works, about what matters. We cannot be afraid to do something different because of the sacred-cow syndrome. Our grading practices don’t work. Research tells us this. Our experience tells us this. And, for most of us, we already know this if we’re really honest with ourselves. It’s just hard to take the first step and stop grading.
It's time to see the nail. Who's ready to stop grading and start the conversation? Click To Tweet
It’s time to see the nail. Who’s ready to stop grading and start the conversation?