Do we have to grade them?

18 May

On Friday afternoon a parent asked me what I was doing for the weekend.

I replied that I would be spending the day on Sunday at school preparing for report cards.  She replied with: “Really, the Preps will get report cards?…….at this age?” God bless her.  I didn’t want to shock her even more with the fact that they would be graded A – E for both academics and effort.

As I prepare for the reporting onslaught that is ahead of me I am finding it really hard as I want to give all my 4,5 and 6 year olds an A grade.  Honestly they are ALL doing the best for where they are at on their own learning journey.  Yes, there are some kids doing more than others but that is OK because I know each child is doing the best for where they are at.

A+

I shudder with the wording for report cards – very high, limited, partially and support required (I have four years olds in my class – of course they need support!).

I wonder about the impact these words and grades have on both parents and students at this early stage of their schooling.

I always tell parents that as not all children learn to walk at exactly the same age, the same goes for reading.  They will all start reading at different ages (and let’s not forget I have Preps who are born 11 months apart – they are NOT the same age anyway!).  So it does seem unfair to then grade them as a unified group on what they are doing right now.

My preference would be a portfolio of the students work given to parents and a meeting to discuss what they are doing and where we will be heading to next on their learning journey.

Well, that’s enough wishing for today, I better get back to my A, B, C, D and E’s.

I do sometimes wonder if I were being graded as the teacher what grade would I get?

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8 Responses to “Do we have to grade them?”

  1. smicheleholmes 18/05/2013 at 10:35 AM #

    Bravo to you! As a parent and a teacher, it is difficult to understand why we give children grades – I have to give numerical grades, so even more specific than letter grades. It’s basically saying, “your child is only understanding 84% of what I’m teaching” or “your child is only putting forth 76% effort.” Is it meant to rank kids? My kid is 18 points better than your kid, but he’s still in 11th place. And don’t even get me started on standardized testing. I tell my students all the time that if we were all the same, life would be boring. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on alternative grading methods these past few years and have gone back to school because I know that technology can change how we “grade” students.

  2. Miss Eb :) 18/05/2013 at 1:05 PM #

    Well said Marleisa! I agree whole heartedly – very Early Childhood of you, I must say! 🙂 I do not envy you at this stage of the year….be gentle – on the kiddies and the parents… Good luck! xx

  3. Dorothy 18/05/2013 at 2:40 PM #

    I think conversations with the parents and a written summary at middle and end of the year would be much more useful that the complex report cards that we have at the moment. I admire all the teachers who spend so much time on preparing them.

  4. Denyse Whelan 18/05/2013 at 7:12 PM #

    It’s not great is it? Assigning this ‘so called’ fair system…. all ‘C’ means it’s where we expect your child to be. Which parent, truly, remembering their own experiences wants their child to have a C. However, you and I both know WHO is telling schools HOW to write reports and WHY….. It is the Australian Curriculum being introduced over time…and I feel somewhat sad that this means what it does at the entry level of school. I will be interested to see what Mr 5 grandson brings home to his parents. Unsure that NSW is doing those grades yet…in older classes yes. By the way, just for the opportunity to chat about being a teacher who blogs…I’ve opened a FB group of ‘like minds’ you know, the ones where you grab a cuppa. If you are in Aussie Bloggers group I’ve left a message there. I would not give anyone the job of assigning a grade to teachers…eeeek. Denyse

  5. Anne-Maree 19/05/2013 at 12:17 PM #

    Bravo, Marleisa – ditto. You don’t fatten a pig by weighing it – but the “weight” (score) is all that seems to be valued by the establishment. It’s disheartening………..

  6. Miss Cinders 20/05/2013 at 6:49 PM #

    Marleisa I couldn’t agree more with how you would like to grade them.

    I have six kids in school, ranging from Yr2 to Yr12, in all honesty I don’t look at the A-E put on their reports, I look at the comments. The comments tell me more than a grading does.

    As long as they are trying their best that’s all that matters to me. Four of my kids aren’t the greatest at reading, but I don’t mind, because they are doing heir best.

    Great post. Love it!

    MC x
    #ThingsIKnow

    P.S. My apologies for the late reply, been a busy week around here!

  7. Lynne Wambeek 20/05/2013 at 7:43 PM #

    Oooohh hard yakka…. not having to worry about reports now I used to stress out when it was time to bring the report home…… not for the grading as I knew my Son always tried his best and that was always good enough for us – it was more for the comments, to me this was so much more important than the grading ( I just knew we did not have an ‘A” grader – very much like his parents) and that is okay too! For us it was the positivity in the comments and how well he socialised…. Those were covered beautifully so we knew we had a happy well adjusted son… Good Luck with ‘marking’ 🙂

  8. Natasha In Oz 25/05/2013 at 7:34 PM #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts at my Say G’Day Saturday linky party. I feel sick at the thought of having to Grade little Preppies. I find it hard to mark my Year 12 students so I don’t know how you mark those sweet little ones!

    I know there are many linky parties out there so I am very honoured that you linked up with me!

    Best wishes an don’t work too hard this weekend!
    Natasha in Oz

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