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Teacher ditches grades to help students

Focus is on creating portfolio instead of letter grades

no-gradesLake County, Fla. teacher Lynn Barrett’s young students chatter softly while huddled in groups over their iPads as they explain the cause and effect of events in a fictional story.

The kindergarten- through second-graders help one another work the device and explain tough concepts–without the pressure to earn an A or fear of receiving an F. Grades don’t mean much to Barrett, a veteran teacher. An A-plus in reading, for instance, won’t tell parents how well their child can pronounce words with silent letters, just as a C or F can’t explain how well a child understands vowels, she said.

“Just because they got an A or a 92 on their report card in no way tells a parent exactly what they did,” she said. “All that tells you is a number. It doesn’t really give you any kind of depth of knowledge as to what they know.”

(Next page: How the non-grading system works)

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