Joe Feldman



Average rating: 4.46 · 426 ratings · 78 reviews · 2 distinct worksSimilar authors
Grading for Equity: What It...

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Grading for Equity: What It...

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“Unfortunately, in most classrooms teachers penalize students for mistakes they make during the learning process, for assignments that prepare them for the test. Students lose points for errors (and for answers they don’t complete) on homework, classwork, and on any task that the teacher designs to help students learn content. Those scores are entered into the gradebook and included in the overall calculation of a student’s grade. With this grading approach, student mistakes are penalized during the very stage of learning when students should be making mistakes. If mistakes on any work—homework assignments, tests, quizzes, in-class worksheets, discussions—are always penalized with a score that is incorporated into a grade no matter whether those mistakes occur at the beginning, middle, or end of learning, then the message is that mistakes aren’t ever acceptable, much less desired, and they certainly aren’t ever valuable. Students will be discouraged, not encouraged, to take risks and be vulnerable.”
Joe Feldman, Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms

“Even worse, traditional grading that penalizes students for mistakes often isn’t just limited to a student’s academic work. Teachers often assign grades based on mistakes in students’ behaviors as well: downgrading a score if an assignment is late, subtracting points from a daily participation grade if a student is tardy to class, or lowering a group’s grade if the group becomes too noisy while they work. In this environment, every mistake is penalized and incorporated into the final grade. Even if just a few points are docked for forgetting to bring a notebook to class or losing a few points for not heading a paper correctly, the message is clear: All mistakes result in penalties. While some might argue that this is simply accountability—“I asked the students to do something, so it has to count”—it’s missing the forest for the trees. The more assignments and behaviors a teacher grades, the less willing a student will be to reveal her weaknesses and vulnerability. With no zones of learning that are “grade free,” it becomes nearly impossible to build an effective teacher–student relationship and positive learning environment in which students try new things, venture into unfamiliar learning territory, or feel comfortable making errors, and grow. When everything a student does is graded, and every mistake counts against her grade, that student can perceive that to receive a good grade she has to be perfect all of the time. Students don’t feel trust in their teachers, only the pressure to conceal weaknesses and avoid errors.”
Joe Feldman, Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms

“Conversations about grading weren’t like conversations about classroom management or assessment design, which teachers approached with openness and in deference to research. Instead, teachers talked about grading in a language of morals about the “real world” and beliefs about students; grading seemed to tap directly into the deepest sense of who teachers were in their classroom.”
Joe Feldman, Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms



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