When I was a student, I knew what Utopia would be – no tests, no papers (except those I wanted to write), no grades. Just think about it - going to school just because there were things you wanted to learn!
•    See a class discussion of Robert Frost’s definition of home in “The Death of the Hired Man” as “the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in” with no anxiety whether your analysis will match the teacher’s on an exam.
•    Picture the puzzle of figuring out when the two trains heading toward each other at 60 and 80 miles an hour will meet without worrying about whether two different trains traveling at two different speeds will show up on an upcoming test.
•    Think of listening to intriguing history of the French Revolution, but only taking notes on the parts that interest you because there will not be a essay exam or dates to remember.
It could have been Utopia.

When I was a teacher, I knew what Utopia would be – no tests, no papers, no grades. Just think about it - students who came to school because there was so much to learn.
•    See students giving creative book talks because they loved the book they had read and wanted to share.
•    Picture a class reading Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” followed by a lively discussion of the power of group dynamics that override personal judgment and morals.
•    Think of the freedom to chase a rabbit not in the lesson plan because the students are interested.
It could have been Utopia. (To be truthful, it sometimes was, especially when I liked the rabbit my students introduced.)

When I retired, I discovered Utopia exists. Scattered across the United States and affiliated with several universities are the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes with a motto of “no tests, no papers, no grades.” Classes cover the arts, history, health and fitness, photography, and many other topics. To qualify to attend, one must be a “seasoned adult” – 50 years old or retired. I’ve participated at ours at the University of Southern Mississippi as both a student and a teacher. I pick out my classes based on what I want to learn, take notes or not, do outside reading or not.
I’ve taught a class called “Writing Your Life Story for Your Grandchildren” several times. Some followed writing techniques I suggested; some did not. Some started at the beginning like my example; some did not. Some wrote only in class; some wrote extra between sessions.
    Recently, I taught a seminar “From Katz to Keats” for people interested in learning the story  of children’s author Ezra Jack Keats. Some took notes; some did not. There was no test, but there will be a number of grandchildren who’ll know the story of The Snowy Day. Utopia!

You may find this kind of Utopia near you. The Bernard Osher Foundation supports a number of lifelong learning institutes for “seasoned adults” located at colleges and universities from Maine to Hawaii and Alaska. Check their website at http://usm.maine.edu/olli/national.