The “dumb” grade: between lights and shadows of the transition from the grade to the descriptive judgement in primary school. Teachers’ opinions

The Ministerial Ordinance 172/2020 has modified the model for assessing the learning outcomes of pupils attending primary school, proposing an assessment system that leaves out the numerical grade and introduces descriptive judgment in the periodic and final assessment. As is clear from the Guidelines, the proposed assessment model is set within the perspective of the “assessment for learning”, in order to overcome a vision of assessment as a mere ascertainment and certification of results. How have primary school teachers received the new model? What were the strengths and weaknesses encountered? What characteristics can be found in teachers who favour descriptive judgement? The present study intends to try to answer these questions, through a survey involving some 700 primary school teachers across Italy. The results show contrasting positions, between supporters and detractors of descriptive judgements.