Why we Should Evaluate Students without Grades Too

There’s nothing like a slap to the face when students are handed a grade they didn’t expect or wasn’t what they had hoped for. It can be disheartening. A simple letter or symbol next to it has the power to alter moods and confidence. So, if both validation and satisfaction rely on a certain letter to be presented, how are we ever going to have consistent happy students? Confidence shouldn’t be reliant on a letter and the one we hoped for. Trying other methods of encouragement and evaluation is one way we can ensure students are motivated and confident in their studies.

Comment on their improvement. This doesn’t have to be grade dependent or focused either. Measuring students improvement in the way they approach a question or focus in class is a way to analyze and notice improvement. The speed or rate of which they improved these skills is also another tactic to evaluate with respect to improvement.

Sometimes the amount of effort put in, doesn’t necessarily agree with the lettered outcome. Students can work extremely hard for a grade they feel doesn’t reflect the time or effort dedicated to the cause. Praising student’s efforts and the hard work they put it in to an assignment or study for an exam is an easy way to increase students’ confidence and self-esteem.

Have you noticed their willingness to participate in class? Maybe they come home and talk about the discussions they had in class that day or the question they got right when they raised their hand to answer. Noticing these little anecdotes might be the result of an increase in or willingness to participate in their classes and with peers. Picking up on this and making note of them to your student might even open their eyes to their change in behaviour.

Is your student excited to get up in the morning for school? Do they skip to and from the school gate? Then, perhaps your student has also had a change in attitude. Praising their positive outlook on their education and going to school is a great way of acknowledging their improvement. Students will find motivation and an increased sense of self-esteem in being encouraged to keep up the positivity.

Sometimes we don’t need to assess students in relation the little letter their assignments or exams are awarded with. Their improvement in and out of class as well as their attitudes can also be tells of a positive and confident student who is succeeding and progressing closer to their goals.