Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

Jessica Watkins's picture

Getting Rid of Expectations

It sounds close to impossible--and it very well may be--but the education system could use an extreme makeover.  Our classrooms are burdened with too many expectations.  Teachers are expected to get through a set curriculum in a matter of months; students are expected to pass standardized tests, get good grades and "succeed" using the knowledge they absorb in school.  I've often wondered what would happen if we completely rid the system numerical expectations such as grades.  Without grades, students cannot be judged on a mass scale (whether by teachers who quickly glance at a gradebook and make a hasty decision based on what they see, or future employers leafing through applications).  A gradeless world would force my personal interaction between such teachers/employers and students, as this would be the only way for a person to be evaluated individually.  Classroom dynamics might become more equalized, as there would be no "grade pyramid" with those students thought to be the "smartest" on top.  And, of course, students might be more willing to try new things out ("thought experiments?") without expecting an outcome or "right answer" if they knew they would have the opportunity to explain their thought process--rather than just being judged by a number on a piece of paper.  Numbers cannot possibly signify the depth of a child's learning, as they are anything but "custom fit" and reflect the ideals of a society shaped by all kinds of forces.  But how are we to possibly fix the system when it relies so heavily on grades at the current time?  Are we addicted to putting a number on intelligence and judging our students accordingly?


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
3 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.