Education: Whadjaget?

Many liberal educators agree that grades are a bad way to measure student achievement. Says Education Professor Sidney B. Simon of the University of Massachusetts: "The grading system is the most destructive, demeaning and pointless thing in American education. It allows certain administrative conveniences—permitting assistant principals to decide who goes on probation and who can take an honors course—but it doesn't help learning."

What are the alternatives? Last week, some 800 teachers and administrators met in Cleveland for a three-day conference on the problem and weighed a series of possibilities, some of them highly elaborate:

Written evaluations. This system requires each teacher periodically...

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