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 Is Non-Graded Instruction Useful?

Is Non-Graded Instruction Useful?

In a traditional classroom setting, assignments and homework are graded to help measure performance amongst students.Oftentimes, non-graded instruction can be viewed as being too alternative and not a valuable way to teach kids. But many studies have shown that there is actually a substantial benefit to non-graded teaching.

Pros and cons of non-graded instruction

First, let’s define non-graded instruction. Students would still get a final grade in the course, but there would be less of a focus throughout the year on grading homework, assignments, and possibly even tests according to accuracy. When the pressure of not getting a grade on an assignment is removed, students are more comfortable with their own work. They are able to worry less about if they did an assignment the “right” way, and instead can enjoy what they are working on.
Take a writing assignment for example, if a student isn’t concerned with meeting whatever requirements are asked of them on a grading rubric, they can be more creative and free, an environment where true and lasting learning happens. It is better that a student learns because they want to, not because they don’t want to receive punishment. Sometimes, the knowledge that an assignment is being graded can actually encourage students to engage in poor behavior like cheating on tests or lying about doing homework, because all they are concerned with is getting a good grade.
Graded work also leads to teachers teaching for the test, or students studying for only the test, instead of focusing on actually learning. Have you ever heard a student raise their hand in class and ask “will this be on the test?” While it’s important for students to want to do well in class, which is often reflected in good grades, it’s better that they learn something instead of forgetting it the moment the test is over. Un-graded work also helps with equity in the classroom.
Many students come from different home backgrounds; some are in a place where it is easier to succeed whereas others are not. And while getting good grades can work to encourage students more, getting poor grades does the exact opposite. Bad grades can discourage students from trying at all. If students are rewarded for doing the work at all instead of for doing the work exactly right, they will likely be more encouraged to continue trying.
Another benefit to un-graded work is that students will inevitably feel less stressed. Students today have more standardized testing, more homework, and more pressure than ever before. The key to greater success is taking some of that pressure off, not adding more. The greatest downfall to un-graded work is that if there isn’t a grade tied to it, some students simply won’t do it. A final exam that is graded to assess progress could be what students need to motivate them to learn while also allowing them to be in a more stress-free environment during the rest of the year. All of this isn’t to say that students should be given the opportunity to slack off in class. They should still be required to do the necessary homework and assignments that are asked of them. But it is important that these things are cultivated in an environment where there is room for error without it seriously hurting the students’ overall grades.

Whether your work is graded or not as a student, it is still important that you understand what you are learning. If you are struggling with a class or a concept, Miles Smart Tutoring is prepared to give you the best tutoring for the best price. Call (813) 328-3036 to start with a tutor today!