Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Can We Do Education without Tests and Grades?

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Can We Do Education without Tests and Grades?

Article excerpt

I'VE ALWAYS HAD a distrust of standardized testing in particular and summative assessments in general, even before I knew they were called "summative assessments." Standardized testing is too pat, too reductionist, too arbitrary.

And it can be marginalizing.

Is the point of 13 years of public education to answer 50 out of 100 English and math questions correctly on a fill-in-the-bubble test--or the current electronic equivalent of fill-in-the-bubble tests?

If so, we're doing education wrong. But more likely, we're doing assessment wrong.

"You get a 62. Next."

That goes for classroom assessments as well. How does applying a label to a student in the form of a grade or score further the mission of educating that student?

"You get a C. Next."

It's a more complicated issue than that, of course. Even forgetting about regulations that force educators to score tests and assign grades to students, there can be good reasons for testing students' knowledge as part of the educational process.

But there's a growing movement within the education community that says we can and, in fact, should do away with testing, do away with scores, do away with homework and do away with grades altogether.

They're not only saying it.

They're doing it.

I had the opportunity to encounter some of these people in person at last month's SXSWedu conference in Austin and hear from one of the movement's leading proponents, Mark Barnes, a (now-former) educator and founder of Hack Education and the Facebook Group called "Teachers Throwing Out Grades" (TTOG). …

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