Teaching Tidbits: 6 Ways to Upend the Focus on Good Grades

As a math educator, there is a good chance this thought has crossed your mind: “All my students care about is grades. They don’t seem to care about learning the material.”

In the parlance of educational psychology, this complaint suggests a tension between mastery goal orientation (e.g., “I want to understand the material”) and performance goal orientation (e.g., “I want to get a good grade”). Research suggests that learning is optimized when learners have high levels of both mastery and performance orientations.