Along the journey to being a Pirate I have debated about the use of Grades in school. Early in my career I would use Grades as the Carrot to get students working and on task, and also as the whip to accomplish the same goals. Now as I have re-evaluated my instruction, philosophies, and understanding of 21st Century Teaching and Learning, I feel that Grades should be eliminated from Elementary school. I even think that Middle and High Schools need a complete re-vamping on how they value Grades and give them out.
I have started to lead my students away from the mentality of knowing things so you can answer a question on a test. We are developing knowledge and skills that make us better people, better learners, and in turn, give us the skills to answer the questions on the tests, or find someone who can help us. Because in the end, that is what really matters. How many jobs are out there that you must work alone, without sharing ideas, thoughts, and information?
We need to do a better job at instilling the right values in our students, and teaching parents that Grades are not the be all and end all they once were. That asking a great question, can very often be more valuable then the answer. Students should want to do the work you put before them in class because it is interesting, relevant, and meaningful to them. Not because they will fail or get a low Grade because of it.