Catchy title right?
I could have gone with a list: “5 Reasons to Throw Out Grades” and I would have met a commenter suggesting “5 Reasons to Continue Giving Grades”. Sometimes we must remember that blog posts offer a perspective. One perspective from an infinite set. And here is my perspective…
I’m not sure what this post is. But I will tell you what it isn’t.
This post isn’t a “do it this way” or “I have all the answers” post. Who am I to suggest anything. I only have a just under decade of elementary experience. Is that even considered research?
Maybe this post is a Straw Man.
Maybe I am just in a sarcastic mood today.
As we continue to talk about grades vs. PBL vs. testing vs. student choice etc. etc. I think about every phys. ed class I have seen taught by others and those classes taught by myself. In almost a decade of teaching, I have never seen a phys. ed teacher give out a grade before the final report card, nor have I done so myself. And no one seems to care.
I am not saying it doesn’t happen in other gym classes. Again, intelligent readers & writers will keep an open mind. I bet some high school teachers DO give grades throughout a course. I bet some elementary teachers DO as well. I have never seen it done, however.
We have a physical education curriculum. It contains multiple strands.
Now consider your average gym class. The focus is on skill development. Competency based learning. Ongoing feedback. Collaboration. Team building. Determination. Perseverance. Engagement, etc. No grades.
So, would students learn less in phys. ed if we DID give grades? Yeah yeah, I know – a balanced approach. Everything in moderation.
Maybe this post is a satire. Hopefully it makes one reader think.
I wonder how many phys. ed teachers use badges or gamification in their classes. You know, award a badge for “serving in volleyball” or something similar. Tweet this: “I just received a badge for doing ten push ups”.
Now that we have that covered, let’s talk assessment.
While ability is important, we quite often emphasize effort when assigning a final gym mark. A student who is an average athlete who tries really well deserves a solid B+, right?
Can we do the same in math? Consider this when you see little Johnny struggling, but trying really hard, with a math task.
- Focus on skill development
- Rote and repetitive practice
- Ongoing feedback
- Sports chunked as units
- Minimal grades
- Minimal testing
- Focus on skill development?
- Rote and repetitive practice?
- Ongoing feedback?
- Strands chunked as units
- Many grades -> up for debate?
- Testing -> Up for debate?
Good luck on your phys. ed exams this week!
Full Disclosure: Take this post with a grain of salt. I am not attempting to suggest physical education is any more or less important than math. I was going to comment on Drama and Dance too but I have zero experience in that department. On a serious note, this push for edu-reform does mimic your average gym class, doesn’t it? Who says jocks don’t know anything.
Second Full Disclosure: I am not saying jocks are not smart. I apologize for even using the word “jock”.
Enjoy your last week, folks!