"Test" grades for random stuff?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by RussianBlueMommy, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2018

    Hello
    I was wondering what your thoughts were on teachers giving test grades for random stuff. My 16 year old kid in high school, texted me to tell me he failed a math exam (Algebra 2). But it was "OK" because the teacher was doing a "binder check" and if you had all your notes you got a 100 test grade in the book and that would help compensate for the failing test.

    This same teacher has also done Book cover checks before for the same thing, when several did bad on a test.

    Another one of his high school teachers for his Government class saw that several students failed a test, so she gave them a coloring sheet on The Constitution as a TEST GRADE.

    I'm not against giving a kid a little extra credit of actual WORK pertaining to the subject matter for a little boost at the end of the reporting period. However, binder checks and book cover checks and coloring sheets for HIGH SCHOOL seems a bit ridiculous.

    My kids go to a different high school than I work at, because we live in a different district than the one I work in. As a parent, it frustrates me that my child is being given free passes instead of being held accountable by teachers to learn the material. Am I being overly critical? From a teacher standpoint, I would feel the same way.

    If you, as a teenager know that failing a test simply means you get a random silly thing as a test grade, what motivation is there for actually learning the material and passing the test?
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I do not give test grades for anything other than quizzes and tests. However, my categories are not weighted. My grades are strictly based on points. I have categories color-coded in my gradebook, and one color is for "optional." I always try to make sure it does not equal more than 5% of the total points possible. Also, in order to be eligible for optional assignments, students must have turned in all required assignments. I teach two subjects that are considered "college prep" and I severely limit opportunities for extra credit in those classes. I also teach two subjects that are career path electives. Those classes tend to have more opportunities to earn points. Many of those students do not take traditional pen and paper tests well, so I offer them multiple ways to show they understand the topic.
     
  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I don't even like the fact that we have to give points to students for homework and classwork that pertains to the subject matter. In our CP math classes, homework and classwork is a mandated 20% of the grade. In honors and AP math classes, it's a mandated 0% of the grade. I wish it was 0% for both, and the grades could just be based on tests and quizzes. So, no, I would never give "test" grades for random stuff. If a teacher in my district did that, they would be having a discussion with their supervisor about it for sure.

    This type of thing really creates problems for next year's teacher. When the pre-calc teacher sees an "A" on the transcript from last year for algebra 2, they have certain expectations for what the student can do. And I can assure you that those expectations are not that they can keep an organized binder or cover a textbook.
     
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  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I disagree that grades should only consist of tests and quizzes. But I wouldn’t find any of these test grades appropriate for any grade level.
     
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  6. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I'm just talking math. Of course there's room for a good lab report in science or research paper in social studies. I can't deny that.
     
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  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    In math, things like open response questions in class, problem solving activities, exit tickets, etc. could also count for a grade...especially with younger kids.
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Hmm...

    Coloring sheets would be a definite "no".

    Binder checks... It depends on how the teacher uses the binder. I suppose I might see a binder check as a type of formative assessment, if the teacher has strict requirements for the binder. However, I agree that actual summative tests should be tests. I strongly disagree with grade inflation by giving easy grades, but it happens all the time.
     
  9. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    This is the new America, where everyone gets a participation award and failing is accepted and constitutes passing.
     
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  10. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I think those things are awesome for formative assessment, and to help prepare students for the things that will be going in the gradebook. Or if they go in the gradebook, keep their weight as small as possible (sometimes we need to grade things for compliance purposes, I get that).
     
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  11. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    I would never grade book covers or coloring sheets. That seems outrageous, even for mid-elementary. For all of the grades I teach, a test grade might be a major project or a major assessment. I may make a few quizzes a test grade, not due to the atypical grading policies that the Spec. Ed dept and distract agreed upon, simply due to content/curriculum set up.
     
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  12. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Did you ask the teacher about the assessment procedure in their class? Does the syllabus outline the binder checks? Is your teenager accurate or mistaken, if you know? (I have students who represent their perceptions to their parents and sometimes they are mistaken. Not intentionally, of course.)

    For me, without that information, I could not hope to comment fairly.
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    I actually believe this story to be true. I’ve tutored students who said they got credit for doing this kind of thing in class and proved it by showing their assignments. For instance, one kid got extra credit added onto his test for vacuuming his teacher’s floor and killing flies in the room. The teacher’s rule was 5 points for each dead fly — you just have to show him the dead body to receive the points. So what this student did was collect dead flies from around his house and bring them to school. The teacher would just give him points when the student showed them the bodies in a Ziploc bag. Ridiculous.

    When I heard this, this was my reaction:
    :confused::eek::rolleyes:o_O:dizzy:
     
  14. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    It's not that I doubt the veracity, it is just that I prefer a full picture and would want to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt until I knew more.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
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  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    This isn't a new concept...when I was in HS I had teachers give grades for having organized binders as well as significant amounts of extra credit points for things like not using the bathroom pass, bringing in boxes of tissues or other requested supplies, having good behavior in class, etc. Some teachers also gave extra credit for dumb stuff like singing the fight song on the morning announcements. One math teacher made up a song about our school and his class to the tune of the "Green Acres" theme song and gave 50 points to anyone who would sing it in front of the class. For reference, I was a freshman 17 years ago and this was a HS that was rated "Excellent with Distinction" on the state reporting system. I'm surprised that with standards based grading (maybe that's not happening everywhere?) this stuff still goes on.
     
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  16. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    And btw what about the kid who does well on the test, but doesn't keep an organized binder? This kid clearly knows algebra so shouldn't it be their knowledge of algebra that is reflected in their grade, and not their organizational system (or lack thereof) that got them there.
     
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  17. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I don't think standards-based grading is nearly as prevelant in high schools as it is in middle/elementary schools. Our district has it in the elementary school, and is working it up to the middle school, but they don't think we will ever have it in high school until college admissions offices are all on-board.
     
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  18. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I agree.
     
  19. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Tests, projects, and essays are all in one category for me with my grading system. Those are the only things that go there. I very rarely give extra credit beyond a bonus question on a test or quiz. I believe that their grades should be a true reflection of their understanding of the material. Occasionally I'll offer a small writing assignment as extra credit, but that usually goes into their quiz grade category.
    I do allow them to do corrections to essays for half points back because I want them to learn what mistakes they made and how to avoid them in the future. That's optional though, so I guess in theory that's a bit like extra credit.
    Coloring pages is ridiculous in my opinion.
     
  20. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I could see a binder check, assuming it's a one-time thing, and assuming that keeping an organized binder is legitimately important for the class. A test grade for having a book cover is asinine though.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I wouldn't give or grade a coloring page IN GRADE 3
     
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