Grading on effort and instead of knowledge

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Dewey's picture
Joined: 12/29/01
Posts: 195
Grading on effort and instead of knowledge

What are your thoughts on schools adapting new policies that grade students on pure effort and not their knowledge on any given subject.

Are students more apt to make greater achievements by being graded purely on their effort and not on actually knowledge of the subject? Or is it more likely to set them up future failure?

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

It depends on the subject. You can grade some topics based on effort (e.g., free throws in PE, orthographic drawings in math) but purely on effort - no.

Dewey's picture
Joined: 12/29/01
Posts: 195

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

It depends on the subject. You can grade some topics based on effort (e.g., free throws in PE, orthographic drawings in math) but purely on effort - no.

I'm talking all subjects, in grades K-8th.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

I agree with the pp. While I believe that a portion of grade should be attributed to effort and class participation, those are completely subjective, while marks achieved on tests/papers etc. are pretty objective. There needs to be a balance of both.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

Totally should be a balance of both. Teachers should see that students are making an effort, and give them some credit.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

I believe a balance is necessary for lower grade levels, but I think it sets students up for failure if they are in high school and still getting credit for effort. I've attended several colleges and held many jobs and none of them cared about effort, only results.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

I don't agree with it at all.

How do you judge effort anyhow? Does a teacher really know how much time a student spends outside the classroom studying or practicing?

I heard a very interesting study that tried to see if all the emphasis on praise and 'everyone wins' trends in parenting helped make more confident young adults and adults. It showed that this has had a negative impact in the actual achievments of the children who were raised in a manner like that.

Unfortunately there are hard lessons in life and sometimes you are going to be better in somethings than others. Kids need to learn that and know that hard work will get them further. Letting child get an A in math even though they only solved the problems 50% of the time does no good for that child or our society as they become adults and move into higher education.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

Gosh, if only my work at my job were evaluated on "effort".

Or maybe my mortgage company or utility company would appreciate if I "try" to pay my bill, but can't. Will they appreciate my effort?

Gah! NO! I don't think grading solely on effort anywhere is a good idea.....sure you can report on it, but I want to see real outcomes of learning, not whether a kid "tried". Effort is so subjective-- how do you assess it? I want real objective outcomes of learning.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"elleon17" wrote:

I don't agree with it at all.

How do you judge effort anyhow? Does a teacher really know how much time a student spends outside the classroom studying or practicing?

I heard a very interesting study that tried to see if all the emphasis on praise and 'everyone wins' trends in parenting helped make more confident young adults and adults. It showed that this has had a negative impact in the actual achievments of the children who were raised in a manner like that.

Unfortunately there are hard lessons in life and sometimes you are going to be better in somethings than others. Kids need to learn that and know that hard work will get them further. Letting child get an A in math even though they only solved the problems 50% of the time does no good for that child or our society as they become adults and move into higher education.

But I do know how much effort a student is putting in during class. A student who works their butt of in class should get bumped from a D+ to a C-.

As a mother, I give praise/credit for effort. DD2 is learning to ride a bike. It's all about effort ride now which will lead to results later on. My band, shop, and home ec. teachers all gave me credit for effort because it's a process. If I was graded in those classes based on results, I would have failed all three of them.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"boilermaker" wrote:

Gosh, if only my work at my job were evaluated on "effort".

Or maybe my mortgage company or utility company would appreciate if I "try" to pay my bill, but can't. Will they appreciate my effort?

Gah! NO! I don't think grading solely on effort anywhere is a good idea.....sure you can report on it, but I want to see real outcomes of learning, not whether a kid "tried". Effort is so subjective-- how do you assess it? I want real objective outcomes of learning.

Actually the mortgage and other loan companies will accept effort to keep you out of foreclosure/repossesion. As long as you are working with them, giving them some money, they keep working with you.

Especially in data entry I could see the effort my co-workers put in. Some would try to improve their speed and accuracy, others would slow it way down and work with littel effor.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

I think they are setting the kids up for failure the older the child gets in most subjects. It's no different than a situation that has occurred in our state where they changed their math curriculum to teach estimates instead of methods to give the actual answer. This curriculum started in 4th grade. By the time the kids started college, they either completely struggled to relearn methods or they failed the class. The state has since reinstated the old curriculum. But yes, they should get some credit for showing their work, even if it's the wrong answer.

FLSunshineMom's picture
Joined: 06/07/06
Posts: 3859

IMO, if they have put in the proper effort (in most cases), then they will show the knowledge.

If they put in the proper effort and still didn't show the knowledge, then some other issue needs to be looked at, such as a comprehension problem (dyslexia?) or other issue that would affect their ability to learn the information. Maybe even something as simple as the way they learn, which, if discovered, would give them the ability to learn it with no problem.

Should effort be praised? Yes, of course. Very much so. But to grade on effort alone instead of knowledge? No way, Hosea. How would you know that they had learned the material? And how would learning disabilities be discovered and addressed, since you are only grading on effort?

Dewey's picture
Joined: 12/29/01
Posts: 195

See I think it's completely bogus, and sadly it is a recent policy that my kids' school has choose to put in place. Now out of my 3 school aged kids that this new policy effects it has only had negative effects on one of them.

My 12 and 14 yr olds have gone on doing their best they have both always liked school, my 10 yr old on the other hand would rather run through fire most days than have to go to school. Homework has always been more of a chore for her father and I than it has been for her, simply because we have to constantly keep at her to get it finished. She's the type of kid who would rather be given the answer than have to find it on her own. The worst part of that is the fact that she is a really smart kid.

Now that they have put the policy in place where the kids are graded on effort and not knowledge she is putting zero knowledge into her work. She'll go through put down some bogus crap and try and get away with handing it in that way. Homework has become an even bigger fight because she doesn't understand why we her parents expect to have correct answers if her teachers aren't requiring her to have the right answers. The child if kept on tast is an A student. The policy states that as long as the child shows effort they will be given a passing grade, and for what ever reason my kid is perfectly fine with just getting by. :eyeroll:

When I asked why such a policy was put into place I was told that it's to make a more even playing field for the entire student body as a whole. Kids who wouldn't otherwise be eligible to participate in extra-curricular activies due to low GPA's would now have the chance to partcipate. I was also told that it would give the students more incentive to do better in their classes. The administration told me that a child who has a C for a grade as opossed to a D or an F will take the extra incentive to do what it takes to achieve a B and then on to an A. Obviously that is not the case with all students as my kid is a perfectly example on how it's not working. I was then informed that I'm not able to look at it objectively because I'm thinking entirely of my own child and not at the student body as a whole.

Umm...Well DUH!! My main concerns are for my own children's educations as should any parents be.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I think that is a dangerous way to go, unless the child is so disabled they can not improve even on an IEP level. When I "grade" the boys I don't stop teaching them till they get the question right, and understand the concept. During Tests I give them the "grade" they earned, and then use the test (RESULTS)to help them remember or go about teaching them the concept a different way. I think not giving them grades, which in public school would mean admitting deficiencies is not going to help the children at all in the long run. I tell my boys that it is OK if you are frustrated and do not know something, it means you are learning. School time is not supposed to be easy all the time we are to push them to expand their minds as much as they will allow :). Knowing where they are lacking is very important and it needs to be balanced with the idea that we ALL struggle and that the struggle in life is what makes it worth living. I tell them I know it is hard, but that it is ok, and to help them not get upset, and continue on the path. I don't think pandering to them and giving them higher grades is going to encourage them to work harder.. achieving something HARD is what makes people work harder.

eta results Wink

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1534

Both of my DDs were in a public school last year that had a system that graded similar to this. It totally worked opposite of the intended way for both of them. They are in private school this year and they are both working so much harder and learning so much more with a more traditional grading model.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

But I do know how much effort a student is putting in during class. A student who works their butt of in class should get bumped from a D+ to a C-.

I don't disagree with you on the bumping up of a grade because of effort, but the question was to grade solely on effort. That I disagree with.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

Ridiculous. If teachers only graded on effort and the child was always incorrect, it doesn't matter that they might have spent two hours on it if it was wrong. That is just another example of how our country's TERRIBLE education system is just setting our children up to fail. Teachers need to TEACH the children how to do things correctly. It's not about the effort, it's about getting it right and being knowledgable. This is a very snesitive subject for me, as our school district here in Clark County changed the way they graded our children just this past school year. They now test them on everything that they should know BY THE END OF THE YEAR, and base their grades on that... not what they're being taught in class RIGHT NOW! So basically at the beginning of the 4th grade, for example, they test the children on what they should know going into the 5th grade... before they've taught it to them! And they continue to do this all year long, and what's worse, they base ALL of their grades on these tests and nothing else! How is my child supposed to know something that you haven't yet taught him?? You're basically setting him up to fail before you even give him a chance! Sorry, like I said, this is a very touchy subject for me...

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"Starryblue702" wrote:

Ridiculous. If teachers only graded on effort and the child was always incorrect, it doesn't matter that they might have spent two hours on it if it was wrong. That is just another example of how our country's TERRIBLE education system is just setting our children up to fail. Teachers need to TEACH the children how to do things correctly. It's not about the effort, it's about getting it right and being knowledgable. This is a very snesitive subject for me, as our school district here in Clark County changed the way they graded our children just this past school year. They now test them on everything that they should know BY THE END OF THE YEAR, and base their grades on that... not what they're being taught in class RIGHT NOW! So basically at the beginning of the 4th grade, for example, they test the children on what they should know going into the 5th grade... before they've taught it to them! And they continue to do this all year long, and what's worse, they base ALL of their grades on these tests and nothing else! How is my child supposed to know something that you haven't yet taught him?? You're basically setting him up to fail before you even give him a chance! Sorry, like I said, this is a very touchy subject for me...

I'm not entirely sure I understand. When DD2 was in kindergarten, that is how they did it. By the end of k they had to know how to count to whatever, recognize letters and sounds, sight words, etc. It was a work in progress. For example, the first report might read "counts to 20 by ones."

With standards based grade, it's similar. All the standards are listed and the teacher marks whether they have met them or not.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

I'm not entirely sure I understand. When DD2 was in kindergarten, that is how they did it. By the end of k they had to know how to count to whatever, recognize letters and sounds, sight words, etc. It was a work in progress. For example, the first report might read "counts to 20 by ones."

With standards based grade, it's similar. All the standards are listed and the teacher marks whether they have met them or not.

What you're saying is different than what they're doing at my kids' school. They did these same things last school year as well, told us what the children needed to know by the end of the year. But the difference is they didn't base their grades on this. They just went about teaching them what they needed to know and tested them on what they had been teaching them and that's what their grades were based on. Now at the beginning of the year they test them on stuff they haven't learned yet, and if they fail (which most of them do, because they HAVEN'T BEEN TAUGHT THE STUFF YET) then that's their grade that comes on their report cards. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. When I was in school, I was taught how to do something, tested on it to make sure that I had mastered it, and moved on to the next level. That's the way that it should be. To do anything such as this is, like I said before, just setting them up to fail and making kids that have otherwise always gotten A's and B's think that they're stupid because they're now getting C's and D's on these tests but yet getting A's on things that they're doing in the classroom.

Joined: 01/20/12
Posts: 189

Once the kids hit high school where they will not be graded on effort and will not be socially promoted the issues (if they haven't started already) will start. I teach Special Ed math at the Hs level and so many of my students were passed because of effort. Once they start at the HS and they fail a class some of them don't even know that they will now have to retake the class. Many of my students are very smart and capable of doing the work but believe that they deserve a good grade just because they tried.
It is good to give praise for effort, but grades should reflect performance otherwise it is just a set up for failure.