Switching traditional grades for personal evaluations to alleviate student stress – The Post

Switching traditional grades for personal evaluations to alleviate student stress

The new freedom to experiment encouraged students to go deeper into their texts than anticipated (photo taken by iStock)
September 19th, 2015 6:55 am| by Lucie Rychla

Gymnasium in Hellerup running pilot scheme to see if pupils benefit from not being under pressure to perform

Øregård Gymnasium in Hellerup has received official permission to test a new way of evaluating students. By dropping traditional grades, it hopes to create a better learning environment for students and achieve improved academic results.

The aim of the pilot project is to take the pressure off having to score high grades, so the students feel free to try new things, make mistakes and ask questions.

The pilot will run this academic year, but involve students from only one class.

Affects well-being
Instead of grades, the students will get 15-minute evaluations in each subject five times a year and then one final grade at the end of the year.

However, they will continue to get grades in the subjects they wish to graduate
with.

“We are especially interested to see how this change reflects in the students’ well-being,” Sebastian Gulmann, a teacher at Øregård Gymnasium who helped to plan the pilot scheme, told Metroxpress.

Students feel pressured
A recent survey of Danish high school students revealed every second student feels they are under a lot of pressure, either every day or frequently.

Gulmann hopes that pressure can be alleviated by removing grades.

“There is also the social side of it. Students can spend a lot of time comparing themselves to each other. It’s much more constructive to base the comparison on learning objectives rather than numbers,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Claus Aage Okkels, a psychologist who has been working with stressed high school students for 11 years, emphasises that it is not only students’ grades that cause anxiety.
“Today you have to have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, dress in the right clothes, earn money and go to the gym three times a week,”Okkels told Metroxpress.