Hi Mr. McCoy,I completely agree with you. Educators should not be happy until all students in their classroom are performing above standard. Grades are for parents and should be used as motivation for students. For to long, grades have been used as punishment. Punishment for failing to turn in assignments, failure to study for a test that is given on one certain day, or failure to pay attention. As a whole we have to move away from the practice of grades reflecting anything but mastery. If we have a student who is not mastering the material, we have to figure out how to reach that student. I know some critics will say that you have to have due dates and penalties for not meeting these deadlines or penalties for not paying attention. These "grading" penalties only work if a student is motivated by grades. Most at risk students lack this motivation. Believe it or not students who know they can be successful will meet all due dates. Students who know they will be provided whatever it takes for them to learn will do anything to succeed.April
Derek,Quality post, we agree on so many things. Grades should not be about compliance, rather, they should indicate a measurement of student growth. We're in need of high quality data in education, I recently wrote about that on my blog: http://mrbernia.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/1-thing-we-can-do/. More effective grading will help us "get there."I love the point you made about the age of our students. Too often, adults take the decisions kids make personally, which is misguided. Academics will generally lose when a 12 year old is given the choice of playing outside or doing homework. Sometimes, we need to remember that.Posts like this are a big reason you're such a valued member of my PLN. Many thanks Derek!John
Grades should reflect learning and assignments should be graded as practice. If you must grade assignments then when a student fails an learning objective on an assignment, or receives a zero, that grade should be dropped if mastery of the objective is achieved later. For example, if a student scores low on an assignment, quiz, or some other type of graded project and at a later date demonstrates mastery of the objective/standard, on a test for instance, then the earlier grades should be dropped. By doing this the final grade given truly reflects what has been learned and it also teaches students that the goal is to learn.
Is our purpose to select talent or to develop it? I think we would all agree that we need to develop our students just like we would our athletes in sports. That should be our mentality. I met with my staff last week, we are also in the middle of taking a tough look at our grading practices. I think most educators agree that we need to change our practices. However, that is easier said than done. I believe the only way we can fix grading is through standard-based grading. At least you are having the talk and that is the important part!
Hi Derek:Been there, done that. (Worry, fret, plan etc. Over grades I mean.)I realize that this is probably unhelpful but it may be time to take this notion on board: There IS no effective grading system. It's an oxymoron. And to seek one is a dead-end exercise and misuse of time that might be better spent focusing on student learning, creating alternative data points, making a pot of tea.I wrote about this yesterday:http://www.pdscompasspoint.com/more-failing-fewer-failures-greater-successBut I also know that once grades are in the system it takes an extraordinary effort to eradicate them completely.Best of luck.- Josiehttp://www.pdscompasspoint.com/
When teachers adhere to such rigid rules: no late assignments, etc, we don't get a clear picture of the student's achievement. If we really want to know if students understand and can apply our content, we have to give them every opportunity to show it. I also think it is crucial to consider what supports each student has or lacks at home to get homework done. All homes are not created equal, maybe all homework shouldn't be either.
I agree, measuring concept mastery is ultimately our goal in grading. Timelines and due dates are important, but should reflect in a "responsibility" grade or standard. Having a conversation on grading policy with your staff and parents is an excellent objective, one I give you huge credit for. Don't forget to get the kids input 🙂 Good luck, would be interested in the outcome.