I just read an article "The Culture Builder" by Roland S. Barth (Educational Leadership May 2002, Vol. 59, Number 8) with a group of highly motivated, inspired (inspirational) school leaders who are establishing new school programs where new culture is being built around what is best for students. More on that later.
A topic that rose was grading practices. Roland Barth states a message by schools is "Learn or we will hurt you." He states, "Educators have taken learning--a wonderful, spontaneous capacity of all human beings--and coupled it with punitive measures. We have developed an arsenal of sanctions and punishments that we inextricably link with learning experiences."
Ken O'Conner, Rick Wormelli and others look at grading practices and how it can be done to emphasize learning over gradebook keeping. I've made comments on this before, and was asked to share a powerpoint where I took these educator thinkers work and explored the ramifications. Below is a powerpoint that I've used to support teachers and administrators in reflecting on efficient ways to assess and grade. Comments welcome.