“There is no question that we can use grades to get students to change their behavior, but are we getting them to learn more? One danger is that grade-focused teaching corrodes the very meaning of learning. The purpose of learning becomes merely the achievement of grades. Not the mastery of the material. Not finding innovative and imaginative solutions to tough problems. Not joining with fellow students to run with an idea and see how much each can learn from the others. It becomes instead what former Harvard dean Harry Lewis calls "an empty game of score maximization.”
Yet, the grade is all we really care about. We just can’t seem to find a way to value assessments that would give us a better picture of the learning we want our kids to accomplish.