Can I get good grades without coaching?

School without grades : New ways of assessing performance

Enno is convinced of this: he considers grades to be an outdated system and sees an enormous need for action when it comes to forms of assessment in schools. Enno is not an educational researcher or reform pedagogue - he is a high school graduate and only achieved the highest school leaving certificate a few weeks ago. In the previous school years, the young man from Hamburg experienced that it can be done without grades.

No grades from first to eighth grade

His school, the Max-Brauer-Schule in Hamburg-Altona, completely dispenses with grades in grades one to eight. Grade certificates are only issued from the ninth grade onwards. In the first eight years of school, the children and young people receive regular feedback from their teachers - verbally and in writing - about their personal learning development and the level of learning they have achieved. The concept of performance feedback, which has been tried and tested in the school trial “all-round”, is not only endorsed by the teachers, but also by the pupils and their parents. They appreciate that they can understand the individual progress of their children and the resulting further learning goals.

However, the high level of acceptance for a learning culture without grades and pressure to perform is not the norm. This is proven by several studies. For example, according to a survey published in 2016 by the opinion research institute YouGov, the vast majority of German grades make sense. More than eight out of ten respondents are also in favor of staying seated when schoolchildren do not meet expectations with their grades. In stark contrast to this, many educational scientists have long advocated individualized performance assessment without grades.