By: Jeff Heyck-Williams

What’s in a grade?  Why do we grade? What do grades communicate?

These questions may seem to have obvious answers, but they warrant consideration as we realize that grading is a major way that schools communicate both how individual students are doing and how our schools are doing at educating our children.

The most basic way that we answer the question of why we grade is to communicate the progress and achievement of students within a class.  But this begs the question of what, exactly, these grades are communicating about progress and achievement.