“If we agree that we want to build Jewish self-esteem in students and cultivate their Jewish greatness, what role does administering exams and assigning grades serve?” – Manette Mayberg, Mayberg Foundation Trustee
How should Jewish Day Schools respond to this radical appeal?
Pressure from testing and grading inculcates little love for learning among students and creates tension at home. However, the consistent rejoinders demur that Judaics classes without grades won’t motivate students – What would punish tardiness or disrespectful behavior or what gives a class gravitas? These criticisms have merit in the present form of Jewish Day Schools. The current hierarchical structure of many Judaics classrooms situates authority and knowledge in the teacher’s hands, leaving students to be graded on compliance, likability, and innate talent. This appeal dreams a world where new underlying assumptions alter the context, changing the espoused values of a Judaics classroom and producing artifacts that do not include grades or their harmful side effects.Read More