Episode 7 -Grades AKA Shorthand for Learning


Candidates for government jobs in 1540 China wait to hear their scores  (Source)

“It is within the last decade that serious attention has been paid to such queries as: What should the mark really represent? Should the mark be based upon ability or performance, or even upon zeal and enthusiasm? What is the best set of symbols to represent ability or achievement?” Isidor Finkelstein wrote that in 1913 in the midst of pondered the great mystery of grades. One hundred years later, we are still trying to figure out the answer. Today’s episode is an attempt to follow the convoluted path that is grading and reporting in American schools.

Origin Story 1:
Source – Thom Hartmann’s Complete Guide to ADHD 

Correction – Why You Never Got an “E” in School

Example of Origin Story 2:
How We Measure” chapter in Now You See It by Davidson

A Factory Model for Schools No Longer Works by Horn and Evans

Cited texts:

The Marking System in Theory and Practice (Finkelstein, 1913)

Making the Grade: A history of the A-F Marking Scheme (Schneider and Hutt, 2013)

The Massachusetts teacher (Volume 17, 1864)

The history of report cards (Morrow, posted on YouTube in 2010)

Merit, The History of a Founding Ideal (Kett, 2012)