HASTAC is running a series of forums related to education/media/society. A current topic – Grading 2.0: Evaluation in the Digital Age – is being actively discussed. The introduction to the discussion states:
As the educational and cultural climate changes in response to new technologies for creating and sharing information, educators have begun to ask if the current framework for assessing student work, standardized testing, and grading is incompatible with the way these students should be learning and the skills they need to acquire to compete in the information age.
Grading is a waste of time. We only do it in schools and universities. It’s a sorting technique, not truly an evaluation technique. Iterative and formative feedback is what’s really required for learning. This is achieved through active engagement with and contribution to networks of learners. On a side note, William Farish is credited with creating “grading” in the first place…and it’s a recent addition to education. How did educators evaluate competency before grading? Sustained participation and engagement with networks of learners and educators. But, of course, the authors of the HASTAC post are not trying to do away with grading (as I would suggest we should). They are trying to use technology to make grading more “modern” or “in line” with society’s needs today. I think that’s exactly the wrong way to go about it. Question the model, don’t modernize it.