Guest Host: Michal Eynon-Lynch
Grading is so ingrained into our academic experiences and systems of education, that is difficult to conceive of alternative cultures of grading. The traditional ranking system of A,B,C,D has served us well for a couple hundred years now in this country. The short-hand nature of the grade appears to communicate all we might need to know about a learner. And it seems the learner too would naturally aspire to the higher marks – an extrinsic motivator, but one that is assumed perhaps to reflect the inner passions and abilities of the learner.
This point accumulation focus is diverting our (my) attention to the actual abilities and interests of students. Most students seem more worried about the number of points acquired than the skills and thoughts they are exploring.
So it was refreshing to talk with Michal Eynon-Lynch, ActiveGrade’s Co-Founder and Director of Meaningful Connections, about their product and goal-based grading (aka standards-based grading, mastery, proficiency, competency…). These ideas push and pull educators (myself included) toward open conversations with students about their learning experiences and skill mastery. And it encourages students to care less about the scores on individual assignments and assessments, and contemplate the nature of their learning and demonstrations of mastery.