Jordan Collier

Friday Thoughts: What do grades mean?

Grades are communicationWhen we come to the end of a grading period, parents and students want to know one thing:  What’s the grade?

Many times we wonder why it hasn’t been a concern up until the day grades are due, but it’s reality— mostly because it’s easy to confuse what a grade really means.

Suppose a student fails a test, we want him to get what he deserves (again, compensation) and we use the situation to teach students the consequences of not being responsible. It’s tough to draw the line sometimes because we might want to punish (a form of compensation) students for poor planning, poor effort, or poor studying habits.

But what does the F really communicate?

Lack of responsibility?

Lack of preparation?

Lack of good study habits?

Lack of skill mastery?

Lack of effort?

Lack of ability?

Lack of test-taking ability?

What if the F means we failed? What if it communicates we didn’t help a student reach the goal? And we is an important pronoun here. It’s a first-person, plural, nominative pronoun which means it involves the subject and another person or persons. It’s a partnership pronoun. In this case, we includes the student, all of his or her teachers, the parents, and the school’s administrators. We’re all in this together.

When students aren’t successful, great educators always look inward and look for ways to reach out and help all students. They schedule tutoring sessions, create videos and resources for students and parents, provide links and additional help, and always communicate effectively with parents— sometimes in the form of additional grades. After all, they keep in mind that grades are communication, not compensation.

Just something to think about. Click here to learn more about what great teachers do.

Jordan Collier

Jordan Collier

Secondary Principal

Jordan Collier is the secondary principal at CAC. Prior to joining the CAC family in 2011, Jordan was an English teacher for the Cabot School District. Jordan is a two-time graduate of Harding University (’03 and ’08) and has a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Each week, Jordan shares his Friday Thoughts with the CAC faculty and staff, and an excerpt of that is shared on The 'Stang.

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