Grading seems to me to be like a paradox, a forbidden fruit, or a contradiction—it is something that you need to do in some form but would prefer to do without altogether. Students perform poorly without the threat of academic achievement over their heads but grading itself deforms education. There has to be a better way to go about teaching.

Whether or not there is, however, I have found a performance system and a portfolio system to be noteworthy.

The benefits of the performance system are that grading is cut right to the point. Do the assignment as it is laid out and bam, full points. Sure, the chapter remarks that one of the disadvantages of this system is that it “does not give the teacher the flexibility to recognize exceptional works, bad or good” (226). But, this is absurd. A teacher has not lost their ability to comment on papers by using a performance system, especially if it is laid out explicitly early in the year that the performance system does not indicate a lack of feedback.

Then, there are portfolios. I feel this is a good way to grade. Sure, an educator would be a tad folly if they only graded the portfolio for the class but using the individual pieces of the portfolio as graded pieces, would make sense, and then the final grade gets determined by a performance criterion. Utilizing this method of grading, the teacher retains the simplicity of “do this and then this for [X] grade,” but still is able to emphasize the ultimate goal of the class and why students need to place effort and revision ahead of simply handing in a piece.

Maybe this eliminates some of the nuances behind grading, but right now those are my general thoughts about how to evaluate.

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