- Policies put in place by some 15 state boards of education and legislatures over the past 10 years favor alternatives to traditional letter grading systems, suggesting the practice could be on the way out, Edutopia reports.
- The shift comes amid a push to rethink student assessment and focus more heavily on soft skills, with methods like competency-based education rising to the forefront.
- Alongside letter grades, the value of traditional metrics like homework and scores on the SAT and AP exams are also being called into question for contributing to inequity and poorly measuring students' skills.
Recent years have brought a greater recognition that performance on tasks like exams isn't the greatest way to measure all students' abilities, with many experts often pointing to a quote frequently attributed to Einstein: "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
Unfortunately, the reality is that many schools lack the funding and resources to allow the level of personalization that would fully meet every student's individual learning needs. Administrators can address this to an extent by working with organizations and businesses within the community to support expanded programming focused on serving specific interests and boosting engagement, in addition to gaining industry-specific mentors for students. But with many legislatures and state boards onboard with efforts to reassess assessment, they should conceivably have more ground to make the case for the needed funding — and better informing their school communities can result in additional support for that push.