First semester has come to an end and I’m reflecting on the last few months. Overall, I am quite pleased. My students were amazing! We had great discussions about life and learning, and they created some absolutely wonderful products for me.

Something else that I really appreciated was that right away, my students realized that marks are not what is important in education. For many, the main focus was on learning and loving learning. It was so impressive to hear their reflections on their growth and I really feel blessed that many of them focussed on that instead of grades.

But what’s nagging at me is that at the end of the day, the end result of my class is a number and I have no choice but to give them a grade. It doesn’t focus on the personality of the student or the growth he or she demonstrated, it’s a number on a page and I can’t help but feel a bit let down and almost hypocritical. I spent the whole semester preaching about the value in learning and the importance of loving to learn, but the last piece of feedback from me will be a number on the report card (along with my comments of course.)

It just doesn’t sit well…


4 thoughts on “Cognitive Dissonance at Semester End

  1. I totally understand what you’re saying here. I’ve had the same concerns this year, and as my report cards go out next week, I’ve had many conversations with parents about marks … and also conversations beyond marks into student growth and goals. I wish that there was a way to get rid of these marks, but with universities and colleges using them when determining acceptance, it’s hard to know if this change will really be a reality (especially in high school). In the meantime though, you may find this blog post by my former VP, Kristi, an interesting read:


    1. Thanks, Aviva. I also find it hard because I used to be that student who was always wanting to know my marks as I felt like they determined the rest of my life. So I can see that side too. It’s such a tricky subject…

      1. Glad you liked it! Kristi is an amazing educator and administrator, and one terrific blogger too! When I read your post, I thought that you might find this one of hers interesting.


        P.S. I understand what you’re saying too. I was also the student that was driven by grades, and now I’m asking my students not to be. It’s hard!

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