The verdict is still out on the validity of grading homework in the eyes of many educators in my sphere of influence.  If the purpose of homework isn't to check for students' understanding, what activities do classroom teachers rely on figure out who "gets it" and who is still lost?  The next two diagrams summarize what I hear:

I regularly ask teachers I come in contact with to describe their formative assessment strategies.  Answers such as "think, pair share" and "observe the non-verbal cues of the students throughout the class period" come up quite frequently.  It's the stuff that often doesn't land on paper.  Great. Those are all examples of formative assessment that can drive future instruction.  Here lies the controversy:

Once students complete a few problems or write an essay on paper (or take notes or complete a word find or sometimes just write their name and date and turn it in - how sad is that..) many educators I know automatically feel like a point value needs to be assigned.  Why?  How is a "thumbs up/thumbs down" prompt any different from an activity that involves students writing down an answer or their thoughts on paper, especially when they serve the same purpose?  Why is it universally acceptable to grade one and not the other?

.....I just don't get it.  Can someone explain this to me?