Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

January 27, 2010

Should the current system of grading be outlawed and replaced with something more “21st Century?”


1-26-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

What we said – in spades!


I think everybody achieved an A* in yesterday’s #edchat!

I picked out six words from the wordle above which seem to represent yesterday’s #edchat. They are:

learning, students, need, change, system, agree

  • A main theme was the need for learning to be at the centre.
  • Students are obviously key but are grading systems designed with them in mind?
  • I think need and change go together. There was a great desire for change but no real consensus on what that change might be or how it would look.
  • Systems for grading are inherent. There was unease about many of the systems in use but how these might be changed was hazy.

Generally we feel that there is a need for grading of some sort but we are mostly dissatisfied with the systems we have now. There is a great desire for change but it was difficult to pin down what a new system might look like.

To design a new system for the 21st century might be premature. So much is happening, especially in the realms of technology that this must feature in any new approach.

What was not in doubt was:

  •  We are grading the learning i.e. the ‘what’ not the ‘who’.
  • We need to look at including self assessment, and other elements such as portfolios, projects etc..
  • Grades need explanations, they need to be linked to ongoing learning
  • They need to be collaborative
  • We must integrate technology

 Here are some of the comments

jswiatek: Excited to start. I’m here with my business students. 13 seniors, 2 sophomores to give a student perspective. #edchat

 feedback from them would be great!

Deonna_CHS:  I agree that it needs to be changed, but I just dont know how they would change it

jasontbedell:  My school just tried a system without giving 0’s and replacing bad grades after mastery. Teachers complained, so it’s being dropped.

mattguthrie: I’m not sure what a 21C grading system would be. R we talking “grading” 21C skills? Either way, I think portfolios are the way 2 go

olafelch:  Which system of grading are we talking about? This is a worldwide discussion!

hadleyjf:  What are we wanting from sts? RT @msmithpds: @rliberni not who but what R we grading and why? what is the purpose of the grade?

passandr : IMHO the central part of grading needs to be the ability of students to adapt old knowledge to new situations, regardles of subject

bjnichols: You can receive a grade without learning anything. The importance should be placed on learning instead of grading.

msmithpds:  grading with rubrics for all Web 2.0 products

akamrt:  A new, relevant approach to “grading” would be narrative communications w/ parent & student together

cybraryman1:  earning the grade is when we learn everything. Everything that we have to do to earn that grade

Samm_CHS:   if its not broken don’t fix it

SigningElle:  Currently getting great grades in doc courses but not entirely sure what I’ve learned yet.

mattguthrie:  Elab pls @aly_chs: i believe the more digital things become, the easier it will be for more students to slip through the cracks.

raffelsol:  @swalker2 but when students do this often (grade themselves) they learn they can ‘pass’ if they lie. How do we make them accountable #edchat

tamaslorincz: whole idea of grading 1’s learning is outdated unfair, there r many learning outcomes at every stage as learners

aprilabtbalance : I’ve noticed that whenever my daughter’s had trouble with a certain system, it’s often been something the teacher doesn’t like #edchat

bjnichols: You end up learning to play the game to get through the program.

irasocol: Rather than “grade” – we want students to demonstrate knowledge or demonstrate skill. How should be up to them.

MissCheska: Are rubrics the only assessment tool in grading new media or collaboration? Love rubrics, but wonder if there are more

swalker2:  U dont gv stdnts tot control of grading themselves 4 the report – it shld giv students a way 2 get useful feedback on ongoing lrning #edchat

cybraryman1 : I definitely feel students should be a part of determining how they will be assessed. #edchat

kunami10: If we want to assess higher order thinking, then we must teach it. Too often teachers only assess basic knowledge.

irasocol: schools are always preparing kids for the world 40 years ago, assessing via standards from 80 years ago

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As always some great links were shared!

Meeting kids where they are, not where we wish they were http://bit.ly/67CLAe

Pass fail or letter grades? Study about UVA Med School — http://bit.ly/8SgUbK

Article on collaborative grading here from a parent  http://bit.ly/4nPXvY

RT @k_shelton: @bjnichols you may want to check out this blog posting about grades by @shareski http://bit.ly/zmCNZ

Parents Fight for Easier Grading Systems: http://bit.ly/atbZnD

any followup studies on Stanford Law dropping grades (circa 2008) – http://bit.ly/9g8reh

WHAT we grade may also be grade level dependent – see blog post for tonite http://bit.ly/

A case study about about self grading: http://bit.ly/crBmf5

This teacher suggests using assessment for learning on outdoor activities, just as on indoors: http://bit.ly/9kKjac

Yes, I was thinking my blog post is really relevant here http://bit.ly/4R2pgC

this conversation is why we want to influence our policy makers in IA. #vanmeter needs ur help http://bit.ly/8ewLpS

Iowa Core’s website. Essential Skills/Concepts listed under content area by grade span. http://bit.ly/cSq4fW

reporting grades online Australia style http://bit.ly/cws7xZ

3 online resources 4 the modern high school teacher #teachertuesday #edchat http://bit.ly/bezRY8

1way i do it is w/a rubric http://bit.ly/iJvQY

Teachers can get very agitated about differing opinions regarding grades. http://bit.ly/701TGl

I’ve just been asked to host a new Edutopia forum on technology use at the high school level: http://bit.ly/9bWRb9

http://bit.ly/4GsM07  Watch @johnccarver speak 2day bout changing the educ. system

a blog post about my own paradigm shifts in #assessment – http://bit.ly/cbRbvM

Assessment change crucial at what Prof Heppell has described as “death of Education, dawn of Learning” http://bit.ly/6lzFyi

 Please read if you are a teacher, mentor, or parent, or school principal: http://bit.ly/cjcUfa

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

What do you think about grading systems? Leave a comment!


  1. Thank you very much for this enlightened short version of #edchat. I’m currently training teachers every day in the afternoon and couldn’t follow the discussion. However, I found a way to talk about Twitter, PLNs and gave them a glimpse of #edchat. Hopefully more teachers will join and enrich the discussion.

    Comment by Rick — January 27, 2010 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

    • Thank you Rick, we missed you yesterday! I hope you managed to get some new recruits for edchat! It’s always good to have fresh and perhaps unsullied views! Glad my summaries are proving useful.

      Comment by rliberni — January 27, 2010 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, Matthias Heil, Berni Wall, Monte Tatom, Alfonso Gonzalez and others. Alfonso Gonzalez said: RT @ShellTerrell: RT @rliberni: #Edchat summary 12.00 EST: Should the current system of grading be replaced? http://wp.me/ptGdh-j2 […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Should the current system of grading be outlawed and replaced with something more “21st Century?” « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language -- Topsy.com — January 28, 2010 @ 3:13 am | Reply

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