Why Most Adult Education Classes Do Not Have Grades And How You Can Monitor Your Progress Without Them

Posted on: 14 October 2015

If you enroll in an adult education class, from High School Equivalency Test Preparation to basic technological literacy, you may be surprised to find out that your teacher will probably not be issuing grades. If you struggled in traditional school, this may come as a relief. However, it is also normal for adult students to feel anxious when they learn that they will not be graded. How will you monitor your progress and know if you are succeeding in the course if you do not have grades? Understanding why many adult education centers do not issue grades and how you can monitor yourself will help put you at ease.

 Why Many Adult Education Centers Do Not Use Grades 

There are several reasons why many adult education centers do not rely on grades to measure the progress of their students. Some of them include: 

  • Adult learners are expected to be intrinsically motivated. There are two types of motivation. Extrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from external sources such as getting good grades and rewards for those grades. Intrinsic motivation is internal motivation that comes from a student's desire to learn something new and improve themselves. Since adult education classes are optional, teachers assume that you have solid intrinsic motivation and do not need the extrinsic motivation of grades. 
  • Grades can reduce your interest in learning. It has been found that when grades are involved, you are more likely to study only what you need in order to get a passing grade. However, if you are not being graded, you are more likely to explore an assignment, take chances, and think critically about the material you are learning. This can actually help you understand the material better and retain information long after the due date for an assignment. 
  • Grades can hurt your relationship with your teacher. Grades can make it seem like you are working against your instructor, or as if they hold the power and you have to do exactly what they want to get a passing grade. Alternatively, a class without grades can make it seem like you are working together with your instructor to explore various topics. 

3 Ways to Monitor Your Own Progress

Without grades, you may wonder how you will be able to tell if you are learning enough information and whether you will pass any exams that you are preparing for. There are a few ways to self-monitor without having your teacher give you grades. 

  • Compare completed assignments. Even if your teacher is not giving you letter or number grades, they should give you regular feedback on your assignments. You should save all of your work and regularly compare your completed assignments. If you are getting the same comments repeatedly, you should ask your teacher for extra help in those areas. If you are getting new, different comments, it generally means that you are improving in certain areas. 
  • Take practice tests. If you are studying for a high school equivalency test, you can take regular practice tests online. Throughout the year, you should see steady improvement on your scores. However, do not be discouraged if you hit a plateau and do not see improvement for a month or so. This may simply mean that you are working longer to understand a certain concept that may or may not be a central part of the exam. 
  • Ask your teacher. Even if your teacher is not giving you grades, they generally have a good idea of your current progress. You should feel free to stay after class or meet with your teacher during their office hours to discuss your progress and how you can get the most out of your course. 

With time, you will probably find that studying without the pressure of grades frees you to enjoy your learning experience more thoroughly without reducing the efficiency of the classroom. For more information, contact local adult education centers like Pioneer Career & Technology Center