Grades support student motivation to learn when they provide feedback on where students are in their learning, and what they need to do to progress to a clearly defined target. However, for many students, grades are an epitaph to failure or achievement, the sum total of how smart you are or how much potential you have. Instead of this deflating view, we should want students to pursue a growth mindset, and see “grades as formative feedback that tells you how well you have met learning goals, and whether you need to work harder or change your strategy,” writes researcher Lisa Blackwell. Students can’t take this learning-centered view of assessment on their own. They need educators who create a “context where assessment is informative and motivating, not judgmental and scary” Blackwell adds. How do your grading policies help students grow as learners? How do you get students’ families on board with this approach to grades? Practically, how do you ensure your grading practices are both meaningful and manageable?
ASCD Express is looking for 600–1,000-word essays or brief multimedia content on the theme “Grading for Growth.” Guidelines for submissions are here; please send your submissions to email@example.com by June 1, 2016.
ASCD Express is still accepting submissions for the “How to Be a Change Agent” theme.