Today I gave out progress reports in my classes. The school sends out progress reports with comments selected from a list, those went out last week, that's not what I gave out today. I printed the list of all the assignments I have graded this quarter and the student's current score for each one. Our quarter doesn't close until the end of January, I handed these sheets to students as a check-in, so they would take some time now to get caught up on missing work. There were plenty of students who took their list, immediately pulled out a pen or highlighter and started checking off things they had completed and marking assignments they wanted to improve. But there were far too many students who refused to look at the sheet, gave a panicked response "I can't have that grade!" or who immediately tossed it in the recycling bin. They know, because I tell them frequently, (including today as I handed out the reports) that none of those grades are set in stone. They can retake, resubmit, hand in late or otherwise make up every assignment we've done this quarter. The grades in the computer and on that printout are a snapshot of what students have demonstrated up to this point. I don't think students think of grades like this. I dare say I don't think many teachers think of grades like this. All of these thoughts, plus the recent discussions we have had on growth mindset, left me with this:
What do you think? What does a grade mean to you?