I’ve considered homework and feedback, and continue to do so. I’m also contemplating grades — from the Latin gradus – ‘step.’
Grades — a step, not a number or letter. But a step of and to what?
We want students to improve continuously, and we know feedback [self, peer, teacher] provides the best way towards improvement. With technology providing apps, textbooks, interaction, and connections, more personalized learning is possible. So students can step into and ahead according to more open learning targets with more input from themselves.
Input into their steps ahead.
One of my favorite blogs is TeachThought and today I stumbled upon Terry Heick’s post about alternatives to grades. There are several I will consider, but today, number six, one familiar to most teachers catches my interest:
“6 “So? So What? What Now?”
So: What did you “do”? Summarize details and big picture
So What? Why was this work important?
What now? What is the logical next step with this assignment, idea, or topic?”
To guide students in their reflection using the above questions [I like to use So, So What, What Next], we give Feedback. The work of John Hattie shows that learning improves with feedback that shows “where to next.” Teachers and students collaborate on the next steps.
So, instead of grades, students with feedback from peers and teachers document what was done, why it was done, and what the next steps will be, be it revision or moving on. Students step: sometimes a little one as they revise, and sometimes a big step to a new project. But always the steps build a picture of student interests, goals, skills, and expectations for the next learning: steps of what is to steps of what’s next. I would think this would provide more insight into student learning and understanding than a letter or number. A portfolio, a digital curation, a conference. Imagine what that might look like. A blog? website? Pinterest? Symbaloo? Thinglink? Yes, the possibilities are endless, and so are the steps of student learning.
What do you think? Grades, or ???????