A girl leaning on her table because of bad grades

3 Ways to Help Students Focus on Learning and Not Grades

The results are in. A student anxiously flips through the last page of the essay to see their grade instead of reading the comments on the writing. Parents happily text and emails their children congratulating them on the grades they received rather than the academic growth they experienced.

Do these scenarios sound familiar? That's because students are too fixated on grades and not learning. Here's how we can reverse this.

Change Your Language

When a child is demotivated and doesn’t want to complete an assignment, parents may give threats like, "You have to complete the assignment. Your grade depends on this!". Instead of saying this, they should say, "You did an excellent job at simplifying the factors. Now I want to see how you plot these factors on a graph."

Will a change in language work every time? No. However, being mindful of the language you use can help a child focus their energies on performing better.

Teachers should shift their language while talking to parents as well. Instead of emphasizing the grades that their children received, teachers can talk about the student's improvement in a certain weak area.

A girl doing her homework

Delay the Grades

A smart way to stop students from discussing a grade is to delay them. When students anticipate receiving the grade, you can discuss their performance in a test and help everyone understand the solutions to all the questions that appeared on the test.

You can also annotate the tests and return them to the students without adding a grade. After that, you can encourage the students to reflect on the notes and make corrections based on them. While this activity can irritate students because they're fixed on the grade, they'll soon realize that learning from and correcting their mistakes can help them understand a concept better.

A person taking an online class

Lower the Stakes

Several research studies point out that homework shouldn't be graded. While many teachers have grades for completing homework, it can be detrimental to a student's learning curve. You can keep a tab of who's completing their homework and who isn't so that you can discuss it in the parent/teacher conferences.

Homework provides a chance for students to learn and practice to explore a topic, not to compete with others. By lowering the stakes, students can practice at their own pace without worrying about failing the homework grade.

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