One of the latest teaching trends includes getting rid of grades and homework as part of a push towards achieving equity in the classroom.
We’ve sort of created this rate race and competition all about just getting the grade rather than focusing on the learning itself and that favors, in some cases, the kids who have the most resources,” said Michael Horn, who is the author of “Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)Creating School for Every Child.”
Implementing the idea of equitable grading looks different in from district to district.
In Washington State, the Olympia School District nixed a music class for fourth graders in the name of fighting racism.
There are other folks in the community that experience things like a ‘tradition of excellence’ as exclusionary…we’re a school district that lives in and is entrenched in and is surrounded by white supremacy culture,” said one official during a school board meeting.
Sunrise Park Middle School in Minnesota did away with giving students F’s. They also allow kids to re-take tests.
Instead of pushing kids forward and helping them succeed, helping them read and do math, you know, on par to the standards, it tells kids ‘you can’t’ because of whatever reason,” said Alex Nester, an investigative fellow at Parents Defending Education. “It’s really sad to see that instead of pushing kids to succeed, schools would rather hold them back to have equality of outcomes.”
Joe Feldman, the author of “Grading for Equity” and CEO of Crescendo Education Group, defined equitable grading as “common sense grading.”
We want to make sure that our grades accurately reflect our students’ understanding of the course content,” Feldman said. “We want grades not to be a reflection of students’ income or other circumstances outside their control.”
Feldman said there are a lot of misconceptions about what equitable grading is among educators and critics.
“Equitable grading doesn’t mean everybody gets an A or that we don’t care about deadlines or that students don’t do homework. Those are all misconceptions,” said Feldman. “We don’t want students to just be constantly in this pressure cooker of wanting to get that extra point here or that extra point there.”