Grading Technology? Not again!

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So it’s grading time again and that means I’m sitting here filling out 320 grade reports giving Kindergarten, First, and Fifth graders grades for technology. Why? Because it’s on the report card.

I just finished spending two years reworking the report card at my last school so that it did not include technology as a singular subject. Instead technology was an intergraded part of all subject areas. Students were assessed on their use of technology within each subject (authentic assessment).

What gets graded gets taught.

If we want technology to be intergraded into everyday lessons, then we must grade it accordingly. We need to quit treating tech as a separate subject and more like an information skill. We don’t grade students on library usage because we know the skills that the students learn during their library time enhances student learning within the classroom, especially reading and writing. I argue that technology is the same. I see the students for 40 minutes every 6 days, but we focus on skills they need in the classroom. Doing a presentation? We talk about PowerPoint. Doing a podcast? We learn about making a podcast. I teach the skills kids need in order to do the assignment. In the end its how they apply those skills to the subject matter that should be assessed. A good PowerPoint gets a better grade then a weak PowerPoint? The focus should not be on the PowerPoint but the information that it presents. Should we assess students on their presentation of information? Yes, but not on how they use a specific piece of software.

I don’t want you to think that I’m sitting back and complaining about the problem. I am on the report card committee and hopefully will be able to make the changes to the report cards that are needed so that we’re assessing the right skills in the right areas. But that won’t happen until next year, in the mean time 319 more report cards to go.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Tracey Amend Reply

    I have such mixed feelings about your post. I totally agree on one hand and wish that I could move my staff in the direction of ‘teaching’ the tech skills within the context of the assignment they have given the students. But they can’t always do that themselves do to lack of skills or lack of time, and then I have to rely on my tech teacher to support this. The bottom line is about the learning…in our school, the tech person doesn’t give grades at all. And to me it says it’s not important. It’s a district report card, or I would change it. I’ve seen an ‘attitude’ difference in the teachers when they are giving grades vs not. This is why I have mixed feelings. Again, I bring it back to the kids and what they are learning and not the grade per se.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      …and I think this is the issue….I too have mixed feeling about this switch….hence the reason I’m throwing it out there. 🙂

      Do your teachers need to have these skills? Absolutely especially if they expect kids to have them every time the research an assignment, a paper, etc. Search is a great example. No were in most curriculums do we teach search in context…which means in the classroom…but from about 6th grade on we expect kids to “just know how to do it” sure we can all search Google….but really understanding search is a skill…a skill that can be and should be taught each time we require kids to do it. We don’t teach kids to write once in 3rd grade and then never come back to it…it’s a skill we continue to work on….continue to teacher.

      Do we need to assess it….or is it a skill that is a means to an end…….that part I’m not sure of yet.

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