No Grades…Weird, Right?

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By Josh Backer

One Stone is a school that has absolutely no grades. This may seem like a strange concept for a school of all places, but I’d beg to differ. You see, One Stone is much less of a school in the traditional sense of the word. It’s much more down-to-earth and it realizes its purpose more than other schools do: it’s there to prepare you for the “real world.” The real world doesn’t have grades, only end results—and One Stone realizes this. Instead of a course giving you multiple essays that you do, turn in, and get graded on, you’re assigned a handful of projects, and after you turn them in, they’re given back. 

Instead of a grade, however, you have feedback on how to improve the paper, podcast, song, essay, code, project or blog. Instead of just turning it in and that being the end of it you continue working on it with the coach until you end up with a polished end result.

With a bunch of our courses, getting grades wouldn’t make sense anyway. Take, for example, a course that I took last quarter called Radio Ready. In this course, each student made a podcast around the overarching theme of “intersection” and then put them all together into two separate episodes and got them aired on Radio Boise. It was a great course that taught a ton of useful things throughout the process of coming up with ideas for the podcast, interviewing people, and then editing the podcasts. But how would you grade these creations and processes? Sure, you could make the argument about grading the final podcasts of each student, but they were all highly polished by the time they aired because of the fact that they were gonna be aired. 

One Stone doesn’t have grades because at the end of the day, it just wouldn’t make sense. Between the courses that wouldn’t work with grades to the fact that One Stone is preparing you for the future. That's the biggest thing though, isn't it? One Stone is preparing for your future, and real life doesn’t have grades. In real life you can’t just half-do something as fast as you can and be done with it; you have to stick with it until its a polished end product. One Stone treats students the way that they would be treated in the real world, and helps us get there.