I read an article on Education Week today that seemed to discuss this very same idea. Now I just got done reading the comments from everyone on the article, and wow. People have a lot of different opinions. I really don't like confrontation on the Internet. And these people sound belligerent so I am not commenting in the box. But it got me thinking about how we doing grading at our school. We still do grading, as I'm sure everyone here is aware. And it is still very subjective with moments of objectivity just as every other teacher. However, we do focus on competency and mastery.
How do we do this? We make sure the student knows the material. Cs and Ds don't fly anymore....they just get As and Bs. Most of our students have just "done what they had to" and tried to just barely pass before. By actively creating these guidelines, the students reach for a higher standard. I saw comments on this article about schools that just let students retake as many times as they want so kids don't even try the first time. WE also have things against that in the fact that they can only really take the tests twice until they need to go back and prove mastery to the material that they are being tested on.
But the cool thing to me is that the power of the letter grade gives these students confidence to go on to their next school with more confidence whether that be in college or another high school. I know that they are actually having to learn something to go through what I make them do :) unlike other schools where they could just skate by. So it is definitely something that is worth considering in the constant debate of education reform.
Picture courtesy of: http://www.legaljuice.com/2011/07/post_245.html