The importance of grades to students is difficult to overstate. The teacher arrives in the classroom with a set of exams and papers, and feel the tension start to rise. Eyes dart nervously from the stack to the teacher—will she pass them back now or make us wait to the end of period? Whenever she does, it’s quiet but for the eloquent emotional responses crossing student faces—elation, dismay, anger, frustration, despair.
I love it! Especially the story about giving animal stickers. Grades really are pretty meaningless. When our college moved from numbers to a simple A-B-C system (no pluses or minuses) we saw a dramatic shift in focus from grades to learning. We need to fight against the artificial metrics that administrators and employers love so much.