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To Grade or Not to Grade

That is the question. Do you give grades in your home school? There are pros and cons. Not giving grades supports a more natural approach to learning. Is your child engaged, involved and learning? If you choose to assess learning by the use of something other than tests, grading can seem irrelevant. Can your child tell you the story they just read, explain a science concept, or illustrate a period in history? If yes, why grade?
     On the other hand, grades give a student a measuring stick, and a way to monitor progress. If your child scores a certain percentage correctly, you can be assured that your child is learning the topic. Many children enjoy the feedback that they get from a grade. Parents are also reassured that learning is taking place. But what if your child is not a good test-taker, or is not yet in a position to earn "good grades," by reason of learning challenges, or other factors?
     Under those circumstances, grades can be disheartening and destructive. Whatever your teaching philosophy, why not vary your assessments? Take quizzes, but also allow for other ways for your child to demonstrate mastery. Just as in other parts of life, balance in assessment is a good thing. Our free online planner (PER – Plan/Educate/Record) allows you to give grades with a choice of five different grading scales, or not give grades at all. It's up to you. Grades, and all assessments, are merely tools to help us help our children learn.


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