An increasing number of experts say kids would be better off if there were no grades in school! Because studies show that when students are being graded, they focus on memorizing facts, and passing or failing. Their self-esteem gets wrapped up in the letter grade, and if they don’t get a good grade, their motivation for that subject, and sometimes for school in general, goes down the tubes. In fact, researchers at the University of Michigan found that 80-percent of students base their self-worth and self-esteem on their academic performance, in other words, not getting an “A” makes them a failure, in school and out. And the low self-esteem follows them into adulthood, making them less likely to take care of their health, more likely to end up in a low-paying job, and more likely to break the law.
Furthermore, students who get graded remember fewer facts a week later, than kids studying the same material who aren’t being graded. That’s because they’re only trying to remember those facts long enough to spit them back out on a test, so they’re not really internalizing what they’re reading.
Also, students quickly learn that grades are what’s important, not knowledge. So, they tend to tackle projects that are easier, because they know they’re more likely to get a good grade.
But in schools without grades, like Montessori, students know they’re not being judged, they tend to choose the most-challenging subjects and projects. And they end up caring more about the work, and what they learn, than the grade.
Want more proof? In Finland, schools have no grades or standardized tests until it’s time to graduate from high school. And in a list of 40 countries, Finland’s students are #1 in reading, math and science. While we rank 12th in reading, 20th in science, and 25th in math.
So, let me ask you. Should schools stop giving grades? Weigh in on Facebook.com/JohnTesh.