Bookmarked This principal gives school report cards an F and is calling for a rethink of how we assess children (

A Perth school uses the coronavirus disruption to education to rethink school report cards, placing an emphasis on personal development and character over grades.

Rebecca Carmody reports on the opportunity taken by Guildford Grammar Preparatory School in Perth to reimagine reporting. For Guildford, This has involved focusing on Michael Fullan’s six global competencies of deep learning alongside letter grades. In some ways, this reminds me of ideas discussed by Greg Miller and Edna Sackson. It also continues the growing trend to explore alternatives, such as ongoing reporting.
Replied to Smart A$$ Responses (Daily-Ink and Pair-a-dimes un-post-ed)

Is the purpose of a worksheet to get the answers right? Is the purpose of assessment to count marks or to check for understanding? When someone doesn’t give you ‘what you are looking for’ does that mean their response is wrong and deserves a big red X?

Or is a smart a$$ response a wake up call that maybe you can ask better, more interesting questions?

I am currently reading John Warner’s book ‘Why They Can’t Write’. He really hits the point in regards to exams:

The SAT essay exam tested students on their ability to produce a writing simulation, not on their genuine writing abilities. The result is what I call “pseudo-academic BS,” a bizarre and counterproductive style where ten-dollar words like “plethora,” “myriad,” and “quintessential” are sprinkled in, whether the meaning of the sentence demands it or not.

I wonder if smart a$$ responses are the canary in the coalmine? There are other ways. This is what people like Peter Hutton have been advocating.

Replied to What does success look like? card-playing edition by dave dave (

I’m left thinking about how I can do better with my own kids in encouraging intrinsic motivation. I want them to want to play cards with me because we have fun together when we do it.

It’s the same kind of intrinsic motivation that I want from the education system. So much of our system is defined and constrained by how we measure success. So often we default to the easy measurement, to the convenient measurement, and lose our way altogether. It may be that the way we model learning as teachers is the only real learning that happens in the classroom. I should pay more attention to my grandpa.

Dave, this all makes me think about mastery learning. For many, this is seen as the solution to students having control and ownership of their learning journey. The problem as I see it is that the roads of success are usually somebody else’s road with somebody else’s vision for tomorrow. This is something you touched on in your post on assessment when you talk about ‘compliance’:

There have been lots of innovation and encouragements. They are, for the most part, directed at trying to get lots of people to ‘work’. They intend to measure the compliance of our students. Is our goal about compliance? Or, as it says in basically every strategic plan in education in the world, are we trying to support independent, creative citizens?

I am left wondering what happens if our children do not even want to play cards at all? Or learn an instrument? Or any other activity. Maybe the answer is enforcing independence where:

Students create and assess their own learning. In this scenario, the learner is facilitator and assessor. Where they create their own narratives, their own successes, their own continual feedback.

Once rhizo always rhizo!

Bookmarked More Schools are Throwing Out Grades, But are They All Clinging to the Same Alternative? (Etale – Embrace Mission-Minded Innovation)

Those who follow my work know that I have a a habit, some consider it a bad habit, of juggling too many projects at once. This is especially true when it comes to writing projects. Of course, all o…

Bernard Bull worries that too many have jumped onboard mastery as an alternative to grade-based learning. His concern is that the other options, such as self-determined learning, are often overlooked.
Replied to When will the ‘grade addiction’ end? Probs never. (Bianca Hewes)

This experience reminded me that our young people learn this addiction to grades from us, the adults. They don’t desire a mark or a grade for the mud pie they make and proudly display when they are 3. They don’t want to be given a piece of paper with an A on it when they learn to ride a bike. We make this unnatural framework for their learning, and often all it does is create anxiety, perfectionism, conflict, competition and, worst of all, not great learners.

I have always loved your use of ‘Medals and Missions‘ to support students in becoming more self-determined learners. It also reminds me of a post from Bernard Bull arguing that letter grades are the enemy of authentic and humane learning.
Bookmarked The Downside of Checking Kids’ Grades Constantly by Jessica Lahey (

Digital grade portals were designed to improve home-school communication by allowing students and parents to monitor grades and attendance throughout the year so there are no surprises at report card time. In theory, a parent who checks the portal has the opportunity to stay on top of a child’s performance and facilitate support for the child if performance slips.

The reality, at least in high-pressure school districts, is that some parents interpret the school’s invitation to constantly monitor grades and scores on the portal not as an option, but as an obligation. This obligation adds to the mounting anxiety students and parents feel in these districts.

Jessica Lahey discusses the other side to anytime, anywhere access. The effort to irresistably engage parents can lead to an increase in anxiety and a devaluing of student-teacher relationships, relevance and student engagement. It is also interesting to consider where SeeSaw and danger of the digital dump.
Bookmarked Letter Grades are the Enemy of Authentic & Humane Learning (
Bernard Bull discusses how grades work against authentic and self-determined learning. Although they are ingrained in education, he recommends considering the aspects of life free from grades and having these conversations with others.

What is interesting is this is only one post being shared at the moment. Bill Ferriter shared his concerns about the association between standard grades and fixed mindset, while Will Richardson argues that grades only matter because we choose to let them matter.

This continues some of the points discussed in Clive Rose’s book The End of Average and Jesse Stommell’s presentation on grades and the LMS. It is also something that Templestowe College has touched in the development of alternative pathways to higher education.