Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Student's thoughts on grades

After last week's meeting, I decided to ask my students their thoughts on grading and motivation for learning. After all, we are doing all of this for them, so why not get their opinions.
The comments are starting to roll in. Check it out here.


Blogger Karl Fisch said...

You might also be interested in these posts:

Motivation and Higher Learning

Assessing Student Learning


10:25 AM  
Blogger rayh said...

Wow! Great job Mason! What did you think of the results? Do you still need more student input? How might these comments affect your future thinking about grades? What about playing Devil's Advocate by saying that you can assume by their remarks that they would work harder and learn more if you removed some/all grades for your next unit and they would more readily do their homework if there were no grades hanging over their heads. I hope the conversation continues and I would love to hear your reaction to them.

2:51 PM  
Blogger kleibsohn said...

I loved reading all the student's comments about grades and how many students really split. Some are truly motivated by the actual grade itself. While on the other hand some students are truly there for the information and would like find a way to be "graded" on their knowledge without consequences. I think some kids would truly put forth a lot more effort if they knew there was not going to be an actual grade and they were going to just gain some interesting knowledge. It sounds like a lot of information is sometimes just memorized or crammed to then be lost. If students could build portfolios, projects, have debates, dicussions, then more could be gained.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Caroline S said...

I struggle with how a grade looks. I love the idea of a responsiablity grade.
Grades and not the learning has overshadowed the learning.
We are help accountable for what they learn. We have to have the hard evidence to prove that we are doing our jobs.
So many questions and so many answers?

2:52 PM  
Blogger Melissa Mindell said...

I agree with all of this, however I do have one instance of a conversation with many of my students over the years about grades. Many times when I collect an assignment to check for understanding and not for a grade I have many students complaining because they feel they are doing it with nothing in return. This definately could spark the conversation about why they are here--to learn, however I do believe that many kids are very motivated for that grade and many students won't put forth their best work if they know it isn't going to be graded??

9:25 AM  
Blogger mmarchino said...


7:32 PM  
Blogger mmarchino said...

The comments the kids made were very thought provoking. I think that we don't allow students to take responsibility for their own learning and that grades don't reflect their ability or what they can do. It is a challenge to find ways to get students to buy in beyond just getting a grade. When they see the relevance they are motivated by their grade, not by the learning itself. I really like talking about grades because I have felt so bogged down with grading that there has to be another way to give students feedback.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Krueger said...

I haven't really thought much about how students feel about grades until Tony's presentation. His presentation has definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things. I've started to pay much closer attention to what student's say about thier grades. The most common thing that I hear from them is "My parents are going to kill me if I don't get an A in this class." This comment proves to me that the whole grading issue goes way beyond the classroom. This comment right hear tells me that if we are going to restructure our grading system or reword our gradbooks we need to find a way to reach the parents before the students will fully understand the purpose and reasoning behind it.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Jared Robinson said...

When I was in school, grades (unfortunately) represented a kind of all-seeing eye for me. Let me explain. Like many students, I always had a hard time engaging in meaningful self-reflection and evaluation. I was never very comfortable with myself, so I was always looking for ways to understand myself based on the external feedback that I received. Of all of the hundreds of forms of external feedback that exist for students, grades are often the most easily decoded. As a result, I often felt like my self-worth was determined by the kinds of grades I was receiving. This is unfortunate for several reasons. The one I want to point out is that when students care this much about grades, grades become the end purpose of education. When this happened for me, I lost much of the inherent joy that came with learning. It wasn't until college that I rediscovered how much joy could come with learning. That is why I think it important that when we talk about grades to students, we help them understand that grades are a means to an end, and not an end to themselves. I try to help students separate their feelings of self-worth from their academic evaluations.

7:11 AM  
Blogger ChingyenG said...

Grading is a very complicated task. That's why I am so glad I don't need to give grades for my job. Grades reflect a student's achievement as outlined by that particular teacher. So it's subjective. Does an A from Teacher A translate to another A from Teacher B? We all know the answer to that. Can we use criterion referenced tests to measure achievement to avoid individual interpretation of the curriculum? Thus minimize the bias in grading?

On the other hand, grades provide feedback to the students. So they know how well, or not so well, they are achieving to fulfill the course requirements. Grades are important in that regard. Ah, the great controversy continues.

2:35 PM  

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