First, I want to thank all the visitors and contributors in the grading conversation. I was overwhelmed with the responses. Obviously, I hit a chord with many of you. I want to spend a few minutes adding my few cents.
I see grading as a necessity in our current education system. Now, before I start an uproar from shaggyhill or others, I want to reiterate in our current system of total education. For our students to get into college and qualify for a majority of financial aid students need a good GPA.
Secondly, I do see a major distortion in what grades mean from school to school, or even classroom to classroom within a school. I'm utilizing standards based grading in my classroom, while other teachers in my school and even in my department grade on points or other methods. Our current education system allows teachers to have significant control of how they assess and grade students in their classroom. As a teacher, I enjoy that freedom and would struggle working in a district that would really restrict my choices in that sense.
Do I dislike other methods of grading? No, I can see the perspective of grading student work for points, using accountability as an emphasis in the classroom and grading. My personal perspective has changed over the last couple of years. I believe that grades (if we must have them) should reflect what a student knows. When I report to parents, I want an easy way to show them what their child knows and doesn't. Standards-based grading does that for me. It may not be the choice of many others, but I see the purpose and believe it works best for my teaching style and how my classroom operates.
I'll be interested to see how education changes over the next few years. I sense a change a coming, but I'm not sure when it will happen.