Grades: the less-helpful metric

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We went to Prom together over a decade ago. Yesterday we chatted in the church hallway while we waited for the kids in the Christmas play to finish rehearsal. I don't even know how the topic came up.

"At our school we focus on mastery," she tells me. "The kids can take tests again and again."

"That's great. I get why schools test for grades, but measuring how well a child has grasped a subject at a particular moment in time doesn't help the student much. Far better to let them learn from their mistakes!"

With homeschooling, that's exactly what you can do. You aren't bound by some arbitrary convention of when your students "should" learn something. If it takes two days or two years, it's not a big deal. You can let your students learn at their own pace. On the other hand, you can even use tests to help you identify areas where your students struggle or excel. Then, based on this information, you can tweak what you focus on and practice. That's a fantastic use of testing. But notice how that's about you and how you run your homeschool. Grades based on tests are far less helpful for your child.

To the student, getting a bad grade in spelling doesn't help much if they can't practice and try again.

Focus on helping your students master a skill, and they'll do just fine on the test.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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  1. Pingback: How Do I Set Proper Expectations for My Students? | Sonlight Blog