Separating Punishment from Failure
Teachers need to recognize the need to support and offer feedback to students. Feedback should encourage the success of learning even when there is failing along the way. The current grading system cages risk takers. Grades are tethered to specific days and times and not always about mastery of a concept. The allowance for the time difference it may take for a student to master a concept isn't reflected in a positive way. Attempts to compile a more accurate assessment of a student's knowledge has been seen in portfolio binders. School is real life for students, so the evaluation system is real for the students. The current system punishes the learner who needs more tries for mastery and that leads to a self concept of failure and causes lack of motivation. Failing is a natural part of learning.
"After all, no one is going to baby the laggards once they get out in the real world."
from Creating Great Schools: Six Critical Systems at the Heart of Educational Innovation