Should students be graded on effort or performance? Should students be graded on effort or performance?

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I believe teachers should be assessed like other professions-- a mix of effort and performance. What is different than many other professions is that teachers work with individuals, and young individuals at that. What might be a great success with a certain group of learners might be considered a failure with a different group and vice-versa. Thus, it is paramount to consider the circumstances when determining teacher performance-- who did they teach? Where did they begin the year? What were the realistic goals? Etc.

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Should students be graded on effort or performance?

Should students be graded on effort or performance?

Yes! I feel that the best way to assess student achievement is by looking not only at the results, but also at the effort they put in. For example, I take a weekly participation grade for my classroom. This includes preparedness, materials, engagement, alertness, attitude, and contributions. I record in my gradebook my reasons for giving each grade and I point them out when students ask why they have a certain grade.

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Tough question. I often grade this way (on both) when I can get away with it. For some kids, they put in the effort and never seem to be able to catch on.  Still, if I know a student is working hard, I will grade on effort as well. Performance grades don’t bode well for students who have test anxieties. Some kids, on the other hand, put forth little effort and just naturally remember things. I prefer to grade on performance, but I reserve the right to help the struggling student in terms of effort. (This takes on an entirely new light with regard to intellectually and/or emotionally challenged students.)

 

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At the high school level, I have a weekly grade that I call Class Participation/Effort grade. If the student is on task, taking notes, particpating in group work, etc., I grade that as an effort grade. I have found that most of my students work really hard to get a good Class Participation/Effort grade. This in turn ensures better performance on tests.

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A small college in my neighborhood adopted a new policy that a substantial portion of a students grade should be based on "effort." This brilliant idea resulted in the school losing its accreditation until the policy was reversed. Effort is certainly important, but it can be extremely difficult to quantify. If a student misses a certain letter grade by a point or two but has made a significant effort to achieve, I often am inclined to spot him/her the difference; but I do not consider "effort" a measurable element to be factored into grades every time. Effort should be considered, but not measured.

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I think that it should be a measurement of both. Consider this: a student is able to commit to memory an entire lecture on a subject. The test is based upon the ideals discussed in the lecture. This student will be able to "ace" the test if the test simply covers the facts. What I do instead is focus on what the student learns as a result of the lecture and their own personal thoughts on the material. Therefore, the test would combine their performance and their effort at mastery.

Performance: understanding of the material

Effort: What they show outside of the given facts.

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In order to answer this, you must answer another question first: What is the purpose of a grade? If students receive grades as a quantitative way to report and record the skills that they have, then grades have to be based on performance.

This also begs the question of exactly what skills are being taught. In the elementary grades, classroom and life skills such as working in a group and sharing resources are usually taught along with the academic curriculum. These skills are often summed up in an "Effort" grade, more as a convenience to the teacher than anything else. In the lower grades in particular, I agree with 5, that both kinds of grade - performance and effort- should be assigned. Once students get into high school, I believe performance grading is the way to go. I'm been teaching for 25 years and I'm honest enough to admit that I am not a mind reader. I can estimate what effort a student seems to be giving me, but I don't really know for sure, and at times my assessment in this matter has been quite incorrect.

I think that high school students should be learning to stand on their own two feet. In the real world, nobody cares  about your effort,  it's what you accomplish that matters. Try filling out your income tax forms wrong and then telling the Internal Revenue Service that you tried your best.

 

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Measuring performance is difficult, and measuring effort is subjective most of the time. We're living in a society which is sometimes more concerned about how our students feel than whether they are actually learning. Certainly basing a grade solely on effort is a ridiculous notion for academic subjects; however, effort can and should be taken into consideration as one small part of the grade. That, I think, is what sets American education apart from the more rigid educational systems across the world. That may be, in part, what keeps American student scores lower than the others; but it is who we are.

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Students should be graded on performance, but rewarded for effort. By this I mean you should break tasks into small, manageable chunks so that the student who works hard will perform. In other words, find ways to help them succeed and make them more successful. Have them track progress, because progress is addictive.
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I think both aspects need to be clearly communicated to the student, and perhaps effort should be a scale of its own. That said, I agree with #1: performance is the real world and performance is the universal measure of success.

By reporting on both areas, however, students can have a clear idea of their capabilities within a subject to help them make the right choices. If A++ effort only produces E grades, and in another area B effort produces B grades, the student is going to have more success pursuing the latter course.

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As long as we are talking about academic subjects at the high school level, the vast majority of a student's grade should be based on performance.  It may be appropriate to give a student a boost of a percentage point or two based on effort, but a grade should be based almost solely on performance.

By the time students get to high school, they should be treated as if school is part of the "real world."  In the "real world," you don't get rewarded for trying and failing.  If you try hard, but you keep making mistakes at your job, you are not likely to keep the job.  We do not do students any sort of a service by letting them pass just because they tried hard.  That does not prepare them for the performance-based demands that they will face after high school.

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