How Do You Grade?

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I grew up hearing terms like "80th percentile" and "satisfactory" when it came to my biennial tests. I knew that a letter-based grade system existed, and I quickly realized that--truly--the only grade I should ever get was an A. How could anyone settle for less than an A?

In our homeschool, we did things until we got it right. So, I guess, our "grading" was based on a pass/fail standard where failure was not an option. The concept of being forced to stop learning something so you could be given a mark on how well you did at that moment felt astonishingly myopic. How is that a useful statistic? Wouldn't it be better to master the topic at hand before moving on?


But I was growing up in the privilege of homeschooling where we had the time and freedom to pursue learning at a pace I required. Grades are, in my estimation, a nasty byproduct of mass education. They are the only motivator we can offer. They are the only metric we can measure. Grades are how we compare 30 students forced to move through content together.

The question, then, is: How do we apply this system to homeschooling? It certainly didn't fit with how my family did school.

I know some homeschool families give grades based on effort. That makes sense. So, I'm curious: How do you give grades?

On Wednesday, Judy is going to share about grading and Sonlight. I look forward to seeing what she has to say and how that compares to your insights!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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  1. Pingback: High School and Grading and Transcripts … Oh My!! | Sonlight Blog