Due to the extreme stress that students experience from grades, Deerfield has decided that teachers will not show grades to freshmen students until the end of the term. While sophomores, juniors and seniors will still receive marks on assessments and midterm grades, the freshman class will not. They are encouraged to focus more on teachers’ comments, and move away from the attention that Deerfield students passionately apply to grades.
We here at The Scroll believe that Deerfield’s decision to give qualitative reports emphasizing different skill sets, rather than number grades, for freshmen fall midterms will enhance the learning experience of the student body in upcoming years. The change enables freshmen to focus more on the process of learning than on a number that may inaccurately reflect a student’s efforts. Especially during the first half of a student’s first term at Deerfield, it is difficult for all aspects of a student’s efforts and progress to be encompassed by a single number. Our mode of academic evaluation for freshmen is rightly starting to emphasize that the learning experience is a two-way discussion with room for mistakes, reflection and improvement, not a one-way handing down of judgment.
Can preventing knowledge of one’s grade cause stress for a student? Perhaps, but the Scroll Board encourages freshmen to embrace this more liberal style of evaluation, at least for their first term at school. We believe this is Deerfield’s attempt to establish a healthy attitude towards academics in freshmen early on in their Deerfield careers—an attitude that focuses on improving skills, rather than raising numbers. We here at The Scroll have learned through many years of experience that though it may seem otherwise at times during one’s career at Deerfield, the true value of a good education ultimately lies in the means, not the ends.