FDP argues for grades in primary school – GEW: “Children who don’t get support at home are ashamed”


BREMEN. The FDP has triggered a dispute about grades in the primary school. With a view to a self-initiated, representative survey – which resulted in a clear majority for grades from 3rd grade – the parliamentary group in Bremen demands: “We have to take the people’s wishes seriously.” But the education senator regarding the city-state waves it away. GEW sees a fundamental issue affected by the initiative: According to the teachers’ union, the FDP did not recognize the education policy challenges of the time.

Do school grades shame children who already have it harder than others? (symbol photo) Photo: Shutterstock

All elementary schools in Bremen dispense with the classic school grades and instead issue so-called learning development reports at the end of the year (they could certainly issue additional grades upon request). According to the Bremen certificate regulation, the reports must provide an overall assessment of the student’s performance level and learning development, without grading the individual subjects and contain information about work and social behavior, and consist of a competence grid and a freely formulated explanatory text. . With the decision of the school conference and the subject supervisor’s approval, there is also the possibility that junior high schools can work up to and including the 8th grade without certificates.

On behalf of the FDP’s parliamentary group, the opinion research institute Insa Consulare asked the citizens of the city-state whether they were for or against numerical grades from grade 3. The result of this representative survey is unequivocal: the clear majority (74 percent) is in favor of Bremen schools giving grades from grade 3 onwards. Only 17 percent are against, 7 percent are undecided, and 1 percent did not want to provide any information. Although all age groups with a clear majority are in favor of Bremen schools giving grades from the third grade, it can be found that respondents aged 40 and over (74 – 83 percent) are (significantly) more in favor of this than younger respondents. (67 and 68 percent respectively). The opposite tends to be the case with the age trend among those who oppose grading from third grade (from 26 to 11 or 14 percent).

“Sometimes it’s the signal effect of a number note that motivates or shows where there are still gaps”

“We stand behind the people of the state of Bremen and, together with them, demand school grades from the 3rd grade and the waiver of all experiments for performance feedback in high school and elementary school,” says the deputy chairman of the FDP’s parliamentary group in Bremen, food chemist Prof. Hauke ​​Hilz. “Sometimes it is the signal effect of a number note that motivates or shows where there are still gaps. In addition, it is easy to recognize even for people with problems understanding the text.” He further emphasizes: “The aim is to continue to observe each individual child and document the level of development, to challenge and encourage them individually where necessary. A certificate with classic school marks gives quick and understandable feedback to children and parents.”

Bremen’s education senator Sascha Aulepp sees things differently. “Our children deserve a personal assessment and the child’s consideration. You can’t count children’s achievements on one hand, it’s about looking at the children. To see where the strengths are, where the weaknesses are,’ she says. introduce grades? Yes, the schools could, she explains. However, since the introduction of the learning development reports, none of the 80 elementary schools in Bremen have expressed a desire to return to the grades.

“Especially after the Corona period, which is difficult for primary school children, there is a need for a wide range of help, support and opportunities to learn in peace”

The idea of ​​FDP shows that the party has not understood the education policy challenges of the time – says GEW. “In times of a lack of skilled labor and an uncertain world situation, completely different courses must be set for education,” says State Speaker Elke Suhr. “Especially after the Corona period, which is difficult for primary school children, there is a need for a wide range of help, support and opportunities to learn in peace. The FDP, on the other hand, relies on early selection. She accepts that especially children, who only get limited support at home, are also ashamed,” says Suhr.

“If the FDP is serious about working for better education, they should work at the federal level for a special fund for education which is then distributed to the states as needed with a focus on educational equity,” the unionist demands. According to the education report from 2022, 41 percent of those under the age of 18 live in a financial risk situation in Bremen. It is a lonely top value in Germany, the national average is two percent.

The education crisis can only be countered with massive investments in education. “Investments in qualifications and education in particular are necessary to remedy the nationwide shortage of skilled labour, because education is a cross-cutting task and the key to preparing young people for an increasingly uncertain future,” emphasizes Suhr.

“Grades cannot document the individual learning progress of a very heterogeneous group of students,” adds city association spokeswoman Corinna Genzmer. “Characters tend to prevent natural curiosity, enjoyment of school and weaken social cohesion.” News4teachers

Dispute over grades – Minister of Education: “It is not the job of schools to shame children and put them down”

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