It’s a fundamental principle of learning: You perform a task correctly or incorrectly and receive feedback. Though it may be hard to hear at times, especially if you performed a task incorrectly, you learn. We are constantly searching for feedback in our relationships — from our bosses, parents, friends, etc. — and the student-teacher relationship is no different. That’s why it is critical that you provide accurate feedback to your students.
Why Inflexible Teaching Practices Hurt More Than Help
Take this example: Harry turns in a late homework assignment. His score is exceptional, but the “policy” is that late work means 10 points off your grade. The teacher knows that Harry retained the material, but his final grade does not reflect his learning. This type of inaccurate feedback is dangerous to your students and counter-productive.
Take another example on the opposite end of the spectrum: Elizabeth consistently scores high grades but not 100s, so to increase her chances of reaching the top of the class, she regularly brings materials such as glue, paper, and markers into class for extra points. She ends up at the top of the class, but she scores low in science on her ACT. Because of her score, she must take a remedial science class in her first year of college. Did her grades reflect true learning, or were they a shadow of a grade?
Do Grades Truly Reflect Student Aptitude?
The same goes for averaging student grades, which Dr. Doug Reeves calls a “toxic grading practice.” An average grade is, essentially, equal to no grade. It does not accurately reflect what the student learned, so why do it? It is a popular tactic in schools and one that leaves students with a false sense of accomplishment.
By providing accurate feedback, you are extending students the best gift you can offer as a teacher: true learning. And, when those students see what they have truly learned, minus the false grading, they adapt and become part of a healthy school culture.