Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday - Kids Grading Papers

Do you think that kids should be allowed to grade their classmates' work? 

Personally, I don't.  As a former teacher, I didn't let my students grade their friends papers.  I always worried that it would make students that were struggling feel more self-conscious.  Students might be more harsh on friends they didn't like or more lenient on friends that they did like.  I'm all for peer reviews when writing essays, proper scientific lab reports, or preparing for a speech.  However, in my opinion, those are left for older students.  They don't affect a grade.  They are helpful in learning when to accept and when to ignore constructive criticism.

Today, my oldest daughter, Peanut (1st grade), came home with the following paper.

When I saw it, I was confused.  What were all the marks for?  The spelling words all looked okay to me.  So, I asked her about it.  Her response was,

"Joe (name has been changed) graded my paper today in school.  He said that he didn't think it was fair that I always got the answers right, so he marked some wrong instead."

What?!  Who does that?

I have to say that I really like Peanut's teacher.  I doubt that she gave her a bad grade for the paper.  In fact, I'm guessing that it was just a practice sheet that probably didn't count at all.  However, Peanut was very upset by it.  She is a bit of a perfectionist, and it bothered her that she had so many marks on her paper. 

This is just a guess, but I think she was probably also upset that someone would want her to not do well on an assignment.  Her generous heart just doesn't understand that perspective.  In fact, we were eating dinner with her Auntie Em tonight who had an interview for a new job.  Auntie Em said that the person who interviewed before her looked nervous, like maybe she hadn't done very well.   Here's how the conversation went:
Peanut: Do you hope she did well?
Auntie Em:  No, I hope she didn't do that well?
Peanut:  Why would you want her to do bad?
Auntie Em:  Because she was interviewing for the job that I wanted.
Peanut:  Can't you both just do well?  How many jobs are there?
Auntie Em:  Only one.
Peanut: Oh.  Well I hope she did well, but you did better.

My Peanut is very driven.  She wants to be the best at everything she does.  However, she also wants others to do well.  She has one of the kindest hearts of anyone I've ever met.  While I'm sure that some of that will change as she gets older, I don't want it to change now.  I want her to remain as innocent as she is.  I don't want her to feel like the only way to succeed is to make others fail.  I don't want her to be self-conscious of mistakes that she does make.  (We all make them and just need to accept them and learn from them.)

What do you think?


  1. The ONLY way I would say that student-grading is "OK" is if there was NO WAY for the students to know who's paper they had. That being said, I don't like it and I don't think it's very fair.

    I think I would have had a "chat" with Peanut's teacher over this one!

    Peanut sounds like a sweet kiddo!


  2. I definitely don't think it's okay for another kid to grade your daughters papers... much less mark her correct answers wrong because he doesn't like that she gets them right. That's wrong on so many levels!!
    She does sound like one of the sweetest girls though... hope she can keep that sweetness forever!!

  3. Thanks girls! It is nice to know I'm not alone in my thoughts. I hope you're both having a great week!