One of the freedoms that home educators have is deciding whether or not to award grades for academic work. Generally speaking, unless a student is enrolled in a private, virtual, college or other program for which grades are given, academic grades are not really required in homeschooling. Nevertheless, many families — particularly those with middle and high schoolers — choose to assign grades anyhow. There are some excellent reasons why.
One reason to grade student work is to document progress, required in some states. Though there are other (some would argue — better) ways to measure student performance, grades can be used for this purpose in areas where homeschoolers must show progress or meet benchmarks every year.
Another reason to use grades in homeschool is purely for information. Students and their parents need — and often enjoy — knowing the status of a course, where the student stands, and what areas potentially need improvement. Whether a family believes in grading or not, having this bit of information, or combining it with other measures, can be helpful in gauging general performance.
Believe it or not, a lot of students are actually motivated by a grading system. Trying to best a previous score or achieve the highest possible grade on an assignment can encourage and stimulate certain students to do their best work.
Grades can level the playing field when homeschooled kids participate in mainstream activities. Joining clubs, sports and other activities often require a mean cutoff grade point (GPA) for participation. Having an academic grade report means that homeschoolers can participate just like anyone else.
Finally, one cannot discount the importance of having grades to put on the high school transcript. Most colleges and universities look for a transcript during the applications process. Unless there is a particular admissions procedure allowing homeschoolers to circumvent the this requirement, it can be a good idea to have a transcript with grades ready come time for college applications.
otwithstanding, there are many other valid reasons for homeschoolers to consider awarding grades. Even if parents never disclose these grades to their children,