Many schools—and school districts—are abandoning the long-time standard “A-F” grading system in favor of a less judgmental series of classifications designed to make every student (and parent) feel good about themselves. Some have replaced the old, stodgy, inflexible A-F denotations with “EX,” “M,” “DV,” and “E.” EX means the student is consistently exceeding grade-level expectations, M means he or she is meeting them, DV denotes a student is developing understanding and approaching grade-level expectations, and E means the young scholar is emerging, or beginning to show initial understanding of the material covered. In other words, rocket science here we come!
Other schools are taking a cue from the wackos who promote a “minimum basic income” and are proposing a concrete “grade floor,” below which it is impossible to go even if the student never does any work. For example, a pupil might get 40 or 50 percent credit for not turning in assignments. What an incentive for all to do their very best! The public-school system will produce endless cadres of full-on Socialists before the kids matriculate to middle school.
In some cases, schools have entirely dispensed with grading kids on how well they know the subject matter and replaced that antiquated measurement with noting how well a student “tells a story,” “describes an experience,” or “cooperates with partners or groups.” Because, of course, individuals are moot, what matters is the collective. In California, it is now impolitic to speak of “at risk” students, those from troubled homes and/or who have criminal records or abuse substances. Legislators have revised the state’s penal code to instead refer to “at promise” students. California is “at promise” of becoming impoverished—intellectually as well as socio-economically.
As my faithful readers know, I am nothing if not progressive. Therefore, I am proposing several new grading systems myself. Schools could simply use colors in place of the archaic, cold and unforgiving A-F grading system. According to the good folks at colourtheory.net, purple “speaks to the intellect” and “is considered a very cerebral colour.” This could be used for those students who are truly excelling. Whereas green “is a well-balanced colour, good for speech development” and “contemplation.” This could be the equivalent of a “B” (or an “M”). Perhaps blue could replace a “C,” yellow a “D,” and red an “F.” Or, maybe it’s best to use softer, kinder, gentler, pastel colors…like lavender, violet, plum, light pink and teal.
Alternately, a sequence of “thumbs up” could be used, five opposable digits (👍👍👍👍👍) representing an “A,” 4 (👍👍👍👍) a “B,” and so forth, down to one (👍) denoting the dreaded “F.” This would still be telling the student “good job,” while implying room for improvement.
Or perhaps the best grading system of all, consistent with today’s values and feelings, would be emojis. Consider: 😊 replaces an “A,” 😀 a “B,” 😐 a “C,” and 🤨 a “D.” The replacement for “F” (or “E”) could be 😥 or 🙄, immediately followed by 😇, to show that the student is loved and everything will totally turn out super good in the end, so there is no need to be concerned!
It is likely that, in the final analysis, there will be no final analysis, and the concept of “grading” (i.e. “judging!”) will be done away with completely. Students in the not too distant future will simply be asked, “How do you feel about what you’ve learned?”
NASA, here they come. The sky is the limit. 👍. 😊.