Do you grade for points or completion? ELA especially

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by Starbks Junkie, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Starbks Junkie

    Starbks Junkie Rookie

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    I am currently a high school teacher who grades almost solely for points. I am most likely going to be dropping down to 7th grade next year. I think that middle school is such a different environment from high school. There is so much less responsibility and focus on "correctness." I want to be fair. How do you run your homework grading????? :confused:
     
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  3. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Everything I grade is on correctness in Social Studies and when I taught English, but in math on effort.
     
  4. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I teach grade 7 and I don't see why there has to be less focus on correctness. When I teach something, I expect it do be done thoroughly and correctly. How will they learn to pay attention to all the minute details if it is not expected of them? IMO, grade 7 is when they begin to be introduced to this. The word "detail" comes up in almost everything we do because I want them to get into the habit of tuning in to that no matter what they are doing. Doing this early will serve them will by the time they get to high school.
     
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I think the problem is that it takes soo much time to grade everything and many of us have given up and asses this in other ways. For me this is the only way. Classwork and Homework is very important in my classes and is worth 25%-40% (total) depending the level of th class.
     
  6. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I grade for correctness. By the time I ask students to do something for a grade, we have practiced the particular skill several times, both as a group and independently.
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    It depends on the assignment. The first time they take a particular concept home I grade only for effort/completions; however, by the time they've had a few rounds with a particular concept, I grade for correctness.
     
  8. Starbks Junkie

    Starbks Junkie Rookie

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    I guess I didn't phrase that very well. I do expect it to be done well and correct. After thinking about it, I think my question is more due to the fact that I feel like I would want to go over answers in class that same day to continue the skill. I had a mentor teacher who did the check plus/minus system, but then at the end of the term she averaged the homework to be a certain amount of points. I've only been teaching for two years, but the amount of grading is exhausting. I wonder if taking the time to check it in class while they are doing bellwork is effective? Won't I miss it if they aren't getting concept if I only spot check on their desks?? I lean towards collecting and grading, but wonder if it is the most time-efficient process.
     
  9. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    I am saying this in all seriousness. First you have to get those seventh graders to turn their work in, before you can grade it on completion or quality!!

    I also find that what I teach seventh graders is not that different from high school. It is just at a more basic level. They are currently doing research papers (only two pages long) with work cited pages. Don't under estimate them. They are quite capable of doing a lot, except for their homework! :p
     
  10. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I completely agree with the above. We need to start challenging them and start getting away from too much hand holding.
     
  11. Exclaimation Po

    Exclaimation Po Habitué

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    I do a little of both. I currently teach 8th grade ELA. Their bellwork is "graded" on if they did it or not. There are some other things I do "complete/incomplete". The rest is on points.
     
  12. Starbks Junkie

    Starbks Junkie Rookie

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    Yup ... that's how I really feel. I just was curious what other middle school teachers do. I feel that this lack of accountability results in too many high schoolers unaware of how to be personally responsible! Trust me ... I see it everyday!
     
  13. glen

    glen Companion

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    I give my students in math a spot check at the beginning of class. I put 5 or six problem numbers on the board and have them copy their answers from their notebooks (texts closed). While they are working on their reinforcement activity, I check over the slips and ask to see anyone's homework that's in question. I can quickly tell who did the work (made up answers are usually obvious) and who is having some difficulty.
     
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    It depends on what we're doing. Sometimes I grade for completion, and sometimes for correctness . . . and sometimes I don't even grade it at all!
     
  15. katie94

    katie94 Rookie

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    When I start teaching this September, I'll be marking by points! There are some kids that miss school, so how do you mark by completion fairly?
     
  16. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    This is what I don't get about grading for completion:

    I don't know how your report cards work, but our marks are based on the students' ability to meet certain provincial curriculum expectations. If they can demonstrate that they are able to fulfill those learning expectations, then they are marked according to the degree to which they can do this. Completion says nothing about how they can meet certain expectations. However, our report cards have a section called "Learning skills" where we just mark things like homework completion, initiative, etc.. with a 'needs improvement', 'satisfactory', 'good', or 'excellent'; but no percentage or letter grade. So when you grade for comletion, where does that figure on your report cards?
     
  17. AF Mom

    AF Mom Rookie

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    I teach 7th grade lang/arts and everything we do in class is for points. The daily grade is 50 and test is 50. I count off for capitalization and punctuation on every paper plus if they have the correct answers. The only time I give a check or check minus is for their journals. They can write in any color ink and make mistakes as long as they write for 3-5 min. Our late policy is very strict. If they turn in a paper 1 day late we take 30 points off, two days is 50 and on the third day they receive a zero and a visit with the principal. This has helped quiet a bit with late papers.
     
  18. RainbowsEnd

    RainbowsEnd Rookie

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    Mar 25, 2008

    I'm in my first year, but have a found a system that works well in reflecting the students (I teach ELA).

    If it is a worksheet on grammar or something like that we go over it in class. I make sure that each student answers a question, that way if they struggle, I know. I also have them do the correcting with green pen so that I can collect it to see what they learned. However, the points I assign are on whether they did the work or not.

    On writing assignments, if it's passed in they get at least a D. The better they follow/do the assignment the more points they earn. This way, if they do ANYTHING they'll pass (which I've found encourages more effort as we move along).

    You also have to be sure - as I am often reminded - that it's ok to do things for you sometimes. If you don't feel like you have time to grade something ask yourself if it's necessary or if it's busy work. Busy work for kids is busy work for you too.
     
  19. USHistory36

    USHistory36 New Member

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    At our interschool staff meeting (HS and MS), we just discussed this debate. I normally collect 1-3 HW assignments per week (to keep students on their feet), and I check for accuracy. However, if I'm just checking the HW, then I simply look for it to be 3/4 completed.

    I got very angry at the meeting when the teachers said their didn't check for accuracy because how are the students expected to do the right thing next time? I get very fustrated when I get 100 new Freshmen AP students and only 40 of them know how to write a DBQ essay or when to use a comma. And then one of the teachers presented her students work (research papers), and the requirements were for MLA format, 7 out of 21 used a combination of MLA, Chicago, and even believe APA. The teacher gave them FULL credit.

    With that being said, I feel English teachers especially, should check for accuracy (mark up their essays, constructive criticism is not a bad thing!).

    I used to feel bad about writing all over students' essays, but what's worse; not writing the comments and giving an undeserved grade (or not taking the time to even check) or giving a deserved grade through which they can learn?
     
  20. RainbowsEnd

    RainbowsEnd Rookie

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    I completely understand what you're saying about HOW students write, but as and English teacher (of those who will be freshman next year), I have to disagree with you on certain points . . .

    It is absolutely NOT the job of the English teacher alone to correct grammar. It's called content literacy . . . each content area teacher is responsible for this. On top of teaching grammar, English teachers are required to teach literature, public speaking, drama, and a number of other skills. Take a look at your school/district's curriculum and you might gain some insight as to why they are unprepared.

    Also, I completely agree about marking all of those papers, however consider this: how will students learn to catch their own mistakes if we consistently do it for them? Now, imagine marking up 100 essays, every mistake, plus grading for content and style . . . it would take an entire quarter. We have to decide what to focus on and when.

    It is very frustrating to me, as and ELA teacher, that many of my students do not know the difference between then and than. Do I address this issue? Absolutely, but not all of the students will get it. I reinforce every chance I get, but the sad truth is that with all of the internet lingo, the lack of reading, and the decreased focus on "basics" our kids are losing basic skills.

    You are not alone in your frustrations, and they are completely founded but English teachers alone cannot be held responsible for "fixing" the problem. Ask your math teachers when the last time they assigned a paragraph was? They can, and should, work writing into their assignments . . . If we don't connect the content areas, how else is anything we do going to be meaningful in the long run?
     
  21. USHistory36

    USHistory36 New Member

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    I agree that all teachers should reinforce the conventions of English, but I do feel that for essays, English teachers should take the time (whether it be a week or two) to correct all mistakes that students know of (for example, I don't expect 7th graders to know how to avoid passive sentences or use parallel construction). As a Social Studies teacher, I've always corrected students when they're wrong.

    I would think that if students continously lose points for the same mistakes, then they would learn to develop an eye for catching such mistakes.
     
  22. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Honestly, in Social Studies I do not take off for grammar or spelling. I circle their mistakes, but I do not take off for them. I care much more about analysis, and actually proving something.
     
  23. glen

    glen Companion

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    I deduct for spelling mistakes in my classes (math, science, geography), as well sentence fragments and extreme run-on sentences. By 7th and 8th grade, kids should know how to spell common words and which form of words to use. My kids know they will lose one point for each spelling error. I've also started deducting 5 points for any IM spelling- I can't take seeing u or r in their writing! Since I started doing that, my students are paying much more attention to their spelling and grammar.
     
  24. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Welcome fellow Bostonian!
     
  25. AF Mom

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    I understand how you feel when you get kids who don't even know how to use capitalization rules, something they should have been taught year after year, but I have to spend time re-teaching the rules. What will the kids face when they get out of school and try to apply for jobs or go to college. If we don't take the time now to make sure they know how to write correctly, they will always struggle. I used to think you shouldn't mark up their papers but one day I told them I was going to 'bleed' all over their work so they would know what was wrong with their papers. The kids really appreciated it because they could see what was wrong and the next time they didn't make the same mistake. We as teachers have to step up to the plate and make these kids realize that the world out there will not hold their hands or let them slide on their work. I know they are only jr. high kids but starting now, will help them out later.
    sorry for the soap box lecture. long day!!!!
     
  26. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Today...and every day. If you search for my posts, you find a more detailed description of the "Everyday Math" journals I require my students to write.

    I also frequently assign full essay length papers on topics ranging from "How does math relate to what I want to be when I grow up", to a term length, APA style research paper analyzing statistics and data analysis in the student's choice of (approved) occupations.
     

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