Toronto Mike

Primary School Grades Don't Matter Anyway

As part of their job action, my kids' teachers won't be entering grades into the report card system. I'm A-OK with that.

I simply don't care what grades my kids receive in primary school. I never have, and I never will. In fact, I'd be happy if grades disappeared forever from primary school report cards. These teachers with their job action are doing us a favour.

It's the comments I care about. Ideally, there would be even more meat on that bone. Tell me how my child works independently, with others, and if you believe there are any learning disabilities or disciplinary concerns. Of course, if there actually was an issue, it's not as if I'd be learning about it for the first time on a report card. A solid dialogue with the teacher would have revealed any such concerns long ago.

I'm lucky in that my grade five and grade seven children are excellent students, but even if they struggled and received poor grades, they'd be promoted. Kids today can't fail even if they try.  The grades truly do not matter.

In high school, this starts to change. Universities will reject students who don't have sufficient grades, so grades become very important. Unfortunately, that means learning becomes less importance. The more importance placed on a final grade, the less incentive there is to learn and leave your comfort zone.

For example, when I was in high school, I knew the marks that the University of Toronto would look at when I applied there. I needed a math, and to satisfy other criteria, but I could cherry pick the classes I knew I could ace with minimal effort. I intentionally avoided difficult classes, because I knew the grades were all that mattered. If your goal is learning, this is counter-productive.

Withholding my children's grades this year doesn't have this parent angry. It has me grateful.

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