Stop Coercing Effort and Creativity From Kids

The time has come for us to stop grading “effort” and “creativity”.  All too often they are used as lazy fillers in rubrics?  Throwaways really, designed to give kids a chance to earn some points by working hard and creatively.

But there are a couple of problems with this thinking.  First, when kids see categories such as these on the rubric they stop focusing on the quality of the content and start focusing on how pretty their project is.  Further, if they don’t get the grade they want, their argument isn’t content related, it instead is about how hard they worked and while that is admirable, it doesn’t guarantee learning.

Second, when we have to mandate effort and creativity by including it in our rubrics, we aren’t developing assessments that are inherently worthy of effort and creativity.  Assessments that  are relevant and engage kids in meaningful learning don’t have to coerce them into effort.

When we build meaningful, rigorous and engaging assessments, effort and creativity take care of themselves.  All too often we forget that kids have the remarkable ability to meet our expectations, even when we don’t coerce it out of them.


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