Grades Are Just a Number: A High School Teacher’s Advice for Parents (and Students) by Kate Hastings
Last week marked the start of the third quarter at the high school where I teach. A new quarter means our online grading system resets – a fresh start. However, to many of my students and parents, this fresh start ends the minute I input the first grade.
Let’s say it’s a quiz. Let’s say a student scores a 75. Now the computer system shows a “final average” of 75. What happens next? I receive a flurry of emails from concerned parents and anxious students. In the long run that specific grade will mean very little, but that often doesn’t matter to the recipients of these anxiety-inducing grade updates.
Over time, I have come to loathe posting grades. My students and their parents sometimes become fixated on the evolving number, assigning it a power it does not deserve. Of course, students want to do well, and as a parent, I understand the temptation to keep a close watch on your child’s progress. However, my advice to both students and parents is to focus on literally anything besides the number.
- Focus on work ethic.
- Focus on goals.
- Focus on growth.
One number does not define how intelligent, creative or interesting a person is. It can’t because it's just a number, and we need to take away its power.
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