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

Expert Answers
pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.)


Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

msmegmaynard eNotes educator| Certified Educator
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.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
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.
thewanderlust878 | Student

I think that both should be implemented. I don't believe that success comes from simply giving a bit of effort. Success also requires a good performance. However, I think that it is important to recognize the effort given to increase a student's performance, because without effort, a good or great performance would never happen. 

crystaltu001 | Student

I think students should be graded on both performance and effort. They should be graded on effort because they at least have to try on their work and try in class. They should also be graded on performance because it matters how you do and act while you are in class. So both are pretty important.

chrisyhsun | Student

As a student, I think it is important that students think they are graded only on performance. This gives students much more motivation because they think their grades are completely hinged on their performance. Students are better encouraged to explore their potential and fully expand their skill set.

However, if the teacher feels it is appropriate, rewards of effort can be added on top of the basic grading based on performance. This helps students feel more optimistic about their abilities in the subject, especially if they worked extremely hard on the assignment but their performance fell short. Additionally, the fact that this effort-based grading is a reward and not the norm will earn students to not always expect this treatment. This forces students to not take any assignment lightly and continue putting forth their full effort.

ainsleyharris | Student

Well, being a student, i think effort plays a big role in overall performance. If you just grade performance, your missing out a huge brick of achievement fot the student, ditto if you just grade the effort. Therefore, i think you need to grade both or graft the grades/marking schedule together (effort+performance) to have a good mark.


timcconde | Student

How is the world and society going to grade them? Take all your best efforts and go into a bank for a home loan. Well, I TRIED to get a good job and I TRIED to pay all my bills and I TRIED to go to college... All the effort in the world doesn't mean a hill of beans. The only thing that matters is success in the form of performance, and the sooner we teach them that the better. 

beachgirl757 | Student

Performance primarily

Goals and standards should be clearly explained in the learning environment (ie "by the end of this course you should understand x, y and z concepts).  If by the end of the course the student does not understand x, y and z the purpose of the course has not been met despite the effort (or lack thereof) put in by the student.  In another arena, if your boss says "we need to make X/month to keep the lights on and pay your salary" and you are unable to do that despite your effort the result is poor (unfortunate, but still poor). What is the purpose of a goal if the goal is irrelevant to the succes of the participants? The goal should be learning and if the learning is not accomplished (even if effort is applied) then there is no point in having a goal.


virnalisivelez | Student

On effort!!! Super best results!!! Recognition with education is the ultimate goal. 

s4ukgp | Student

Students should be graded strictly on the basis of performance and not on the basis of effort. Students should realize that effort without proper understanding or skill, leads to nowhere. Furthermore how can anyone calculate effort? Take it for instance, I grade A+ to a student on the basis of his good effort, and B to another student who I think didn't give any effort. Be reminded that my judgement of student's effort, can be wrong, and the student who got A+ grade, just pretended to show effort.

wwjdsw | Student

 i believe that tests should be based on performance rather than effort. all though, if it should already be known to the students and is just a quick review, then i believe that it should be graded on effort.

figlover | Student

Students should be GRADED on performance but, they should be PRAISED, and APPRAISED on effort.

freshondafield | Student

There should be a healthy balance because it all comes down to what you are grading.  For example, you could be grading how well somebody works in a group which would  come under performance or you could be grading an art project which would implie grading on effort because everbody is not Picasso.  It all depends on your curriculum and the projects and type of activities you are doing.


sciencesolve | Student

As we speak about grades, as a teacher, I can recommend grades for performances and incentives for efforts. But, undoubtedly, grades should be awarded for performance only. The grades expresses the level of performance , which shows the progress, and teaching process expresses the progress.

gopikrishna | Student

Continuous and comprehensive evaluation was formulated by Education Minister, Kapil Sibal to decrease the accumulated stress of board exams on the students and to introduce a more uniform and comprehensive pattern in education for the children all over the nation. CCE helps in improving student’s performance by identifying his/her learning difficulties at regular time intervals right from the beginning of the academic session and employing suitable remedial measures for enhancing their learning performance. The scheme of continuous and comprehensive evaluation has inbuilt flexibility for schools to plan their own academic schedules as per specified guidelines on CCE. As a part of this new system, student's marks will be replaced by grades which will be evaluated through a series of curricular and extra-curricular evaluations along with academics. The aim is to reduce the workload on students and to improve the overall skill and ability of the student by means of evaluation of other activities. Grades are awarded to students based on work experience skills, dexterity, innovation, steadiness, teamwork, public speaking, behavior, etc. to evaluate and present an overall measure of the student's ability. This helps the students who are not good in academics to show their talent in other fields such as arts, humanities, sports, music, athletics, etc.This Is a new term to assess all round devolpment of a child ,irrespective of individual differences.

okerr12 | Student
Should students be graded on effort or performance?

Should students be graded on effort or performance?

 I feel that both play an important role. As a student I usually try my hardest to bring Homes A's and B's (Preferably A's ha) so I grade them more on effort but both are important.

smartipi | Student

Both. It is imoportant that a child does well to show that they pay attention in class and understand what you try to teach them (if they don't offer extra help) But effort is important because you want your students to try hard and want to do well

nirvisha | Student
Should students be graded on effort or performance?

Should students be graded on effort or performance?

well, i feel that students must be graded for both.Both are necessary for the overall development of a student. but the ratio to be graded should be something like 15% for effort and 85% for performance.

snowy8991 | Student

They should be marked on both for example if they give 200% yet fail because they struggle should give consideration of the effort

yet if a student give 0% and get a resonable grade should make sure that they know if they had tried thy would do better thus lower there mark.


lolboxgirl | Student

I think that when grading a child on their performance, you are automatically grading them on effort. I say this because in order to perform effort is required and you can see just how much of effort is put in by the result of the performance.

But i guess this could be argued because some children can put in a LOT of effort and still not perform well and some can put in little effort but perform greatly.

However i still think that a child should be graded on both.

shizza123 | Student

They should be graded on a lttle bit of both. I mean, effort counts, because maybe the kid has an issue and cannot do well no matter what. But, if they are still not performing well, it means there is a problem. we need to get to the root of that problem. Maybe the kid needs extra help, a tutor perhaps.

on the other hand, there are students who don't try and get good grades. they arre naturally intelligent....... Thats why there should be a grade for effort as well. There could be paticipation marks for example. there could be regulr homework checks for completin marks..... :)

cheezea | Student

students should be graded by effort. As long as they put in effort to do their best, they should be well rewarded as it will then lead to improvement in their performance.

daskalos | Student

That all depends on you.  You set the rubric and the students produce and/or perform to the standards of the rubric.

I taught ESL Computer Applications and all of their grades were based on rubrics for each project.  They included perfomace and product.  My take was if they could follow the instructions and give what the rubric criteria demaned, they did well.  As many of these projects were group based I also allowed their co-worker to have a say in their grades.

We had a lot of fun and the students learned many things that helped them in other classes.  Also, with them working in groups the other students were able to help them understand.

siddy87 | Student

I believe that relying on one method would not be feasible in todays fast paced environment. Each student has a different potential and some are those with special needs. Keeping that into account an amalgamation of the two methods would be more appropriate.

Performance has to be given more credibility than effort but that doesnot mean that the latter should be downplayed because it is important to boost the morale of the students.If a student is putting in his/her maximum effort but is still unable to achieve the threshhold level of performance then probably his strengths lie elsewhere. You can help him/her find that and focus on that.

Performance matters alot because we are a goal oriented society. we tend to focus on the "end" rather than the means. If we are rational, then that is what can help us achieve our goals. Without achieving the results through efficient and effective performance we would lag behind.

An ideal system would be the one that somehow balances both but still rewards the performance on a little higher level than effort.

hemanthbluee | Student

Being a student,

I student can be graded on effort. Because, effort leads to produce a good performance. If students put an effort, only then, he/she will get a good performance. I conclude saying that a student should be graded on effort not performance.....