School Should Not Be About the Report Card so Why Do We Let it Be?

I feel like a fraud.  All week I have been discussing grades with my students as we prepare to release the second trimester report card.  All weeks I have been telling them they are “3’s” or “4’s” and why they are these arbitrary numbers.  I have wished for ownership of their learning.  I have wished for them to understand what that number means and how it looks in their work.  I have wished for them to see that everything they are working towards cannot just be distilled into a number and yet we are going to try.  I have had so many reflective periods in class that I am not sure they even know what they need to reflect on anymore in the hopes that they will buck the numbers.  And yet, when I sat them down, one-by-one, to ask them what their goals were for the final trimester, most answered, “To get more 4’s.”

Argh.

Yet, I know the fault is my own.  I have tried to humanize a report card   To make it mean something to the kids.  I have tried to elevate it to something of importance rather than just add it as another part of their journey.  I have let it take center stage rather than just pointing it out as one more representation of their learning and then moving on.

This is not what school is about.  This is not what school should be about.  I have tried all year to have my students own their learning and own their journey and yet, this week, I set them back so far.  I forgot how much I hate grades.  I forgot how much I do not want to talk about them.  I forgot about how little they truly mean in education.

One thought on “School Should Not Be About the Report Card so Why Do We Let it Be?

  1. We live in a world that values grades–wants to value passion and engagement, but ultimately values grades. I've been crafting a post about this as well, thinking about my high school daughters and their experiences. Keep your vision and your commitment to the idea that learning matters more than the grade. Your post is beautiful.

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