When many of us think about grading, we think of the traditional approach utilized in our elementary, high school and college learning journeys. We might not look back with fondness yet we often feel see a sense of accomplishment. Maybe you’ve mentioned something to your children that sounds something like this…’when I was your age, an A was the expectation and god forbid if I didn’t bring home grades that made my parents proud.’ I fondly remember the motivational approach my parents utilized – any A’s meant a trip to the local toy store and a new matchbox car for my collection. C’s or worse were not acceptable yet somehow I brought home a lot of those too. When I knew my report card would be coming in the mail, I didn’t sleep for days…
Fast forward a few years and the world is suddenly changing very quickly. Part of that change is the world of work we are preparing our children for. In a recent article by the World Economic Forum (click HERE to read), those changes are already occurring, in other countries, in our higher education system and beyond.
So what does this all mean? Grading and the reporting of grades must become more than a moment in time. Grades need to reflect the growth of children as lifelong learners, young people working hard and showing evidence of their development as thinkers, problem solvers and collaborative members of a community. At MJDS we do this through daily conferring, real-time feedback and the opportunity to revise and re-assess throughout the year, providing students with a safe and supportive environment in which to build intrinsic motivation for learning, improvement and ultimately, the ability to engage successfully with the world as adults.
In the next few weeks you will receive your child’s semester one report cards in the mail. Although these report cards will have elements of traditional grade reporting, we are evolving in how we grade and report student growth. As part of this evolution, many of our teachers are in the 2nd year of research-based and intensive assessment reflection in partnership with our amazing educational consultant, Sara Wilkie. Through hundreds of hours of ongoing learning, why, what and how we assess students is improving all the time.