Importance of Grades
Grading and reporting are relatively recent phenomena in education. In fact, prior to 1850, grading and reporting were virtually unknown in schools in the United States. The teacher reported student’s learning progress orally to parents, usually during visits to students' homes. As the number of students increased in the late 1800s, schools began to group students in grade levels according to their age, and new ideas about curriculum and teaching methods were tried. One of these new ideas was the use of formal progress evaluations of students' work, in which teachers wrote down the skills each student had mastered and those on which additional work was needed. This was done primarily for the students' benefit, since they were not permitted to move on to the next level until they demonstrated their mastery of the current one. It was also the earliest example of a narrative report card.
In essence, grading is an exercise in professional judgment on the part of teachers. It involves the collection and evaluation of evidence on students' achievement or performance over a specified period of time, such as nine weeks, an academic semester, or entire school year. Through this process, various types of descriptive information and measures of student’s performance are converted into grades or marks that summarize students' accomplishments. Although some educators distinguish between grades and marks, most consider these terms synonymous. Both imply a set of symbols, words, or numbers that are used to designate different levels of achievement or performance. They might be letter grades such as A, B, C, D, and F; Descriptive words such as Exemplary, Satisfactory, and Needs Improvement; or numerals such as 4, 3, 2, and 1. Reporting is the process by which these judgments are communicated to parents, students, or others.
However, grades do not come easy to some students. College is really a student’s last...
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