100s boards

Many teachers in school dedicate a bulletin board to their so-called 100s Walls. This is where they post photos or the names of students who received 100% on a test for all to see. It is clear that these walls have a negative impact in the classroom and on the school environment as a whole.

First, what is the real difference between getting a 99% and 100%?  Is it an unlabeled x-axis? A misused comma? Does that one mistake accurately reflect his or her abilities as a student?  The answer is no.  Every academically successful student subconsciously strives for perfection, for that golden 100%.  This wall does not provide any incentive to study because first, the incentive is already there, and second, studying does not necessarily lead to a perfect score.  If a student completely masters the material, it is still very possible that he or she can make mistakes. To err is human, after all. These 100s Walls promote the idea that mistakes are not praiseworthy.  Additionally, these walls define students’ worth by their test grades, for the wall only acknowledges those with a perfect score.  It gives students the idea that their near-perfect grade or the score they worked their hardest for is not “good enough.”

Yes, reviewing a 100% on a test is impressive, but receiving that score, having that inner pride, is a reward within itself.  Sure, if a teacher is really passionate about giving extra attention to 100s, then he or she should announce it to the class, in a more private setting that does not stare mockingly at the rest of the students and others who use the room for the rest of the year.  Is the goal of the wall to give a confidence booster to kids who get a 100%?  If they are getting a perfect score, they are surely confident in their abilities already and don’t need the extra validation.

Finally, the 100s Walls promote grade sharing and competition. In general, a student’s grades are no one’s business but that of the student and anyone with whom they choose to share that information.  Competition in school can be cut-throat already.  Many students find the classroom to be intense and competitive as it is. Bulletin boards that could be used for educational purposes, such as test dates, formulas, or encouraging posters, are much more beneficial to a classroom than these 100s Walls.