Do you/your children do grades? How do you determine what grade they are in?
Selected responses from our discussion forum where parents are asked a question and can respond in any manner they choose. Please note that forum posts are used with permission. Also note that forum responses are usually informal and conversational.
No, not really… I use grades as a rough guide as to where to start in finding the correct curriculum for each child.
But we don’t use them in a rigid way. I like the old school system – like the McGuffey readers – where you go up when you know the material. So its quite possible for a 12 year old to be learning calculus, etc.
~Daughter of Eve
No I just keep moving them along with the skill subjects (Maths and English) as they master the concepts, sometimes they’re fast or slow, mostly average. The other subjects we group as much as possible, but expect more from the older ones.
We don’t give grades but we do do Maths and spelling tests occasionally which obviously have scores. Like above, our kids always redo things until they get them right. My boys particularly like the challenge of getting as many right as possible the first time…partly for the challenge and partly so they don’t have to do it again . I don’t like grades when they seek to compare children to other children (which is what they do at school). I just don’t like the idea that a child can do their very best and someone can come along and say it was only worth a “C” because other people did better. Yes, I know they will have to come to terms with this cultural system later on in life, but not while they are young.
I am in two minds about grades for older children. I was always a “good” student at school and received good grades, and often the knowledge something was going to be graded really motivated me – I loved the challenge. But sometimes I think I was more motivated by the competitive side of the grade rather than the learning and because I generally did very well, it set me up for great disappointment at times. The focus can become the extrinsic reward of the grade rather than the intrinsic pleasure of knowing your have done your best and enjoyed the learning experience.
My usual reply is that ‘officially’ they are in Years 4, 6 & 8, but … it depends on the subject etc. In Maths they are roughly in their ‘grade level’ but all other subjects don’t have grade levels … we just work our way through concepts at their pace … fast, slow, whatever they need.
Grades as in marks for work … no, my children are only 5 and 6! Though I sometimes write 100% on their page if it’s true, and they like that! I can’t see myself grading their work in future, except in my own mind as a way of assessing whether the work I assign is at the appropriate level. I’m more interested in their own reflections about their efforts and achievement …
Grades as in equivalent school years … I gave up on that last year, as I just couldn’t decide which school year fitted them! About a six year range depending upon the subject (this is probably true for most children). It will only be relevant if we decide to put them in school, and we’ll cross that bridge if we ever come to it. When people ask what grade they are in, I give a composite answer based on their age (eg. K/1 for Mr 6) … this is enough for most curious people.
I have grades that swap around as I need them. If my child has to be in grade X,Y,Z to do that, then he is in XYZ if I want him to be. We are flexible. We have done the University tests in grades according to their age.
My children are in whatever grade that coincides with their age. Like others though, the actual material they are working through has nothing to do with grades, and everything to do with where my children are at individually, what their interests and needs are. My children like this too, as it gives them something definite to tell people as well (they really did not like being asked this question).
My children are all different grades. Usually they have always been above their ‘grade level’ in English/Language Arts and slightly ‘below grade level’ in Maths.
A few years ago I had my sons do the placement tests for ACE Paces. They were two grade levels ahead in English and 1 grade level below (below the grade level they’d be in if at school) in Maths. This was a handy exercise to do as it helped me identify the areas which we needed to focus on.
As a rule, I don’t like grades. In the adult world they may have a place… and in some instances they are a part of life. I’m not scared of grades nor am I against them. I simply believe they are over rated and not a true indication of learning or education.