Alfie Kohn says "By now enough has been written about academic assessment to fill a library, but when you stop to think about it, the whole enterprise really amounts to a straightforward two-step dance. We need to collect information about how students are doing, and then we need to share that information (along with our judgments, perhaps) with the students and their parents. Gather and report -- that’s pretty much it.
You say the devil is in the details? Maybe so, but I’d argue that too much attention to the particulars of implementation may be distracting us from the bigger picture -- or at least from a pair of remarkable conclusions that emerge from the best theory, practice, and research on the subject: Collecting information doesn’t require tests, and sharing that information doesn’t require grades. In fact, students would be a lot better off without either of these relics from a less enlightened age."
Kohn says research shows three things:
* Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning
* Grades create a preference for the easiest possible task.
* Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking.
Well worth the read!