I have spent countless hours in the past few weeks trying to answer this question. In my current classes, I am attempting to come up with a means to grade students that is fair.
I guess that, first, I have to determine what the word “fair” means. A fair grade is one that reflects what a students knows. Knowledge, in this case, needs to be set as some sort of standard. This standard is then categorized into grades dependent on what a student can show he/she has learned. Just thinking about this makes my head hurt!
Is is fair to get a bad grade if a student is working as hard as they possible can, even if they do not get all the knowledge? This is a good question, and to be fair, I guess I have to say yes, if the grade is indeed showing knowledge. I guess I am thinking that when a student gets an “A” in English, that a college will assume that the student has the skills associated with “A” work. This does not mean that the college will assume that the student worked hard, and therefore, although he/she can’t write well, will still work hard and perform well in college.
This is not the case. A students with an “A” needs to be able to write effectively and efficiently. That student should also be reading at the appropriate grade level, maybe even above.
So I guess, if you haven’t figured it out already, my conclusion is that grades need to reflect what a student knows. The hard part is knowing what standard to use to base this grade on. However, with the Common Core, this is made simpler. A teacher simply uses the proficiency benchmarks as the standard for what students need to know. If they show proficiency, then they deserve the grade.
This, however, brings up another issue. Is proficient sufficient to get an “A” or is proficient just “B” grade work? What does a teacher do with someone who is showing advanced skills? What does that even mean?
I am going to have to think about this one for a bit!