History of Grades

At the end of the 1800’s American schools were moving from one-room school houses where each student worked independently to classes separated by age and grade level. In The Grading of Schools by William John Shearer we find a note to send home to parents (p.116-117)

“This is to certify that since the present plan of grading and promoting was introduced, … has gained … months and is that far ahead of former classmates.”

This shows the beginnings of tracking students and the encouragement of comparing students to each other and competing.