We Should Grade Performance & Competency…Shouldn’t We…?!

Someone in my grad program recently mentioned how grading should be completely based on what students can do. This idea was challenged by another who said that it certainly makes sense if you’re “the last step” before a career (e.g., administering licensing tests, or proving you can do an actual job via some performance), but what about when students are still in the learning phase? This was a good point. How long does a typical learning phase last before you’d expect, or even need to grade performance & competency? What if you—the person ultimately responsible for that grade—are not “the last step?”

What if you’re a college instructor for a 100-level survey course? What if you’re a 10th grade math teacher? What if you’re a middle-school science teacher? What if you’re an elementary school reading specialist? Surely, a high-functioning society doesn’t rely on any of these people giving summative grades based on performance & competency as if it were “the last step.” Placing these kind of obstacles during the learning process long before the rubber hits the road isn’t something we should be doing.

This deserves some thought…

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