Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Different Type of Grading Scale

I have yet to understand what an “A” means or a 99 if you give a number. Does that mean that you don’t need to learn anymore? Or as I tweeted earlier this week “we grade our meat but we should teach our students.”

Therefore I would like to propose a different type of grading scale.

Editors Note: I know it may not be realistic given parent perception and the way colleges work but we need to stop defining our students based on grades.

There are two scales and each student gets a letter and a number

E- Excels and exceeds grade level benchmarks
G- Meets grade level benchmarks
A- Approaches grade level benchmarks
B- Is working below grade level

1- Is an enthusiastic learner and works out of his comfort zone
2- Has shown academic growth
3- Is willing to try and has started to make progress
4- Hasn’t shown any growth and only does what he needs to do

When using this system a student who is naturally smart but doesn’t do anything more could get a G-4 or an E-4 but a student who is not doing well academically but shows growth will receive a grade that reflects that.

I applaud schools that have a similar system. I would love for you to share what you are doing.

Note: We do grade based on grade level benchmarks until grade 3 in my current school.


  1. Great idea, I really like the way this scale would not only share information about how the student is meeting a benchmark, but also how they are approaching the learning.

  2. As a parent I like it. Elli Klajn

  3. Mrs. Tenkely( Kelly)
    Thanks for the comment

  4. I totally agree that something needs to change about our current grading system. I'm unhappy with it both as a parent and an educator. The traditional numbers & letters tell me nothing about what my child knows or how he/she is progressing. I like your two-sided approach, too. It would be great to develop a system together with parents. You could even use this one as a spring board. (As for the colleges, they'll adapt. If we are producing good learners, they'll find a way to admit them.)

  5. Thanks
    I think based on the response I got I may actually try to implement something like this

  6. As a parent and an educator I would be thrilled to have such a descriptive measure to describe what was going on in the classroom. I like that it honors both efforts and where a student is at in terms of mastering the standards. I also like how it gives a clear message to the parent. Under the traditional model a child might be getting a C- and not be able to demonstrate mastery of reading or basic mathematical facts. I don't think parents could readily ignore B works below grade level. I applaud you for being willing to offer this type of grading system to your school community.

  7. Becky
    Thank you for your comment.
    The one thing that needs to be developed before we or any school can institute such a program is the creation of Benchmarks and standards
    Thanks again

  8. About 8 or 9 years ago I was reading up on an international school in Thailand and they gave out 3 possible marks:

    A - Exceeds Expectations
    B - Fully Meets Expectations
    I - In progress

    The rest can all be anecdotal. Brilliant!

  9. An interesting way to report! I'm wondering how your parents reacted? I am very interesting in changing how we report to parents. I am so done with letter grades; they tell us absolutely nothing. I read an article today by Alfie Kohn put out in 1999 dealing with doing away with our current letter grade system. 1999? We need to get with it. We are not doing anyone any service by continuing on with our current system. I say revolt!

  10. Bandlady

    Thanks for the comment.
    we haven't incorporated my system completely it is still wishful thinking. However the parents are having a tough time with the idea that an E doesn't mean excellent
    Thanks for the comment