For years now I have been polling students as they finish a term. First, I ask: "If you were grading yourself in art, what grade would it be?"
Then, of course, I ask "Why?"
After that, I inquire: "If there were no grades in art, how would this affect you and your work?"
21% think grades have a positive affect on learning & creating
9% think grades have a negative affect on learning & creating
70% think grades have no affect on learning & creating
Based on the data I collected and my observations over several years, there are no grades in art this year. Strictly speaking, I am piloting this change and observing if there is any (change). We have just completed the first term in art, and students responded to this item on their final reflection: "There were no grades in art this year. How did this affect your work?"
The overwhelming majority of students replied that there was no difference for them, or it was better, because there was "less pressure" or "less stress" (I wasn't really aware of that much pressure or stress previously...but that is just from my point of view!) One student so far (out of 40) commented that he did not stay as focused, and another said that it made him "not so precise about my work."
I look forward to collecting and compiling this new data set as the year goes on.
|"Out - In" handmade paper collage, by "H" Grade 8|
"The no grades didn't affect my work because I come with an expectation that I have something to do and I am going to do it even if I am graded or not." ~8th grade boy
|Annotated handmade paper collection, By "J" & "C", grade 8|
|Needle-Felted Creature, By "A" grade|