Discussion in 'General Education' started by blazer, Sep 26, 2018.
Sep 30, 2018
The idea of a minimum 50% policy is to ensure that kids have a chance of bringing their grades up.
I understand teachers wanting children to bring their grades up. There are better ways to do this than providing free points for doing no work. Here are some that are better although I would not necessarily advocate them. They do have their problems.
Don't make homework worth so much. If homework isn't worth so much, 1 or 2 zeroes do not allow a student to be in a pit they are trapped in for the rest of the term.
Allow late work for some credit. Don't love late work, but might be better than no work.
Don't have large projects handed in without the teacher checking on it somewhere in the process. A 3 week project, might have deadlines for outlines, rough drafts, etc.
This quarter I have a student who has often chosen to do no homework despite consequences. He finally is doing his homework. As my homework grade is not that large of a percent, he is able to bring his grade into passing despite some 0s on early homework grades.
Great ideas, by the way! I do quite a few of these myself. However, I drop the three lowest homework assignments each semester because I recognize that students have extenuating circumstances outside of their control sometimes.
At my school, the grade weights are essentially decided by the department chair and I can’t lower my homework/classwork category any lower than 25%, I’m afraid, which sucks. I wish I could lower it to 5% or 10%... Luckily, though, I make all of my homework problem sets every year and so the students can’t use slader or something to look up the answers, but I still wish I could lower the homework category and increase the quiz (35%) and test (40%) categories more in kind.
sometimes it is. If it is given the first grading period. But not if it is given every grading period.
The same idea could be executed with a contract between the failing student and the teacher. Or by replacing one or two zeros with a summative assessment score.
What exactly are teachers supposed to do when admin does not like to see F's? I have students with missing assignments who will likely fail the Unit Test (dropping their grade even more) & a minimum 50 policy on some assignments might bring them up to a D-. I am frustrated by it BUT I don't want to deal with admin complaining about my gradebook.
document your points of contact and let them change the grades if they don't like them. There has to come a time when the kids care more about their own grades, and work harder for their own grades, than their teachers.
My mentor told me that if she were in my position, she would also not weigh assessments for more than 65% of the grade and look for ways to boost grades. If assessments were 100% of my grade, I would have about 10 kids failing out of 100 which admin doesn't seem to like. My mentor weighs assessments more and gives zeros, but she teaches inclusion (less kids and a co-teacher) so her kids get more individual support + accommodations/modifications. It seems like a ridiculous situation but I think teachers in middle school are more "accountable" for student grades. Honestly though, my grades portray a very good picture of student understanding. The only thing is that my lower kids have slightly inflated grades. This is not something I am going to choose to stress about. I honestly don't think grades are even that important in 6th grade. I just see it as giving kids a chance to boost their grades and hopefully satisfying admin.
At the end of the day, I want my students to know the concepts. The grade is a measure of their knowledge of the material at the time of assessment. I have zeros in my grade book as we speak. If I have no paper, I can not give credit for anything. As per school policy late work is permitted at a reduced value within 3 days of the due date.
If everyone is inflating the grades, what is the point of standards? If we all say, the standard is accurate addition of 4 digit numbers and students do not add accurately, is a 50% for effort an indicator that they can add 4 digit numbers? When I read a student's transcript, I know certain schools inflate and I'm not sure that the student coming to my class has the prerequisite skills. If everyone just gives the grade earned, I can proceed with confidence. Just my take on it.
As I've said elsewhere I think the 50% version of no zeros is a poor version of the no zero policy that is grounded in an educational culture that is far too focused on percentages to understand how other no zero policies actually work.
That being said, I do not think reducing the value assigned to a late assignment leads to grades that reflect if the student know the concepts. I would suggest that the grade is the measure of their ability to demonstrate the standard by the end of the course. Hence why I don't believe in zeros. We can have incompletes if we have no yet met the standard but grades should be a reflection of what students can demonstrate by the end of the course not a combination of standards and behaviours (being on time, etc).
Can you give your lower students easier tests, but make the maximum score on the easier tests an 80% or something? So if they can do the regular test perfectly=100%. Easier test perfectly=80%.
Grades are not that important in 6th grade, sure, but in my school 6th grade math scores affect who gets to take algebra 7 vs math 7. Do your grades have any implciations for placement next year?
I guess I don't think it's fair to put a "cap" on a student's achievement. Someone from this forum (I forget who!) gave me the advice of putting a few easy questions that everyone (hopefully) will get correct on the test to help boost grades. I'm doing this for my unit test.
I have some kids who are very low. I've been teaching adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals all month. They still cannot borrow, they still can't multiply using the standard algorithm, they try to line up the decimal points when multiplying decimals, they forget to line up the decimal point when adding and subtracting decimals, and they still can't use the standard algorithm for long division. It's just a few kids but it is frustrating.
Another thing that I used to do when I taught ICS, I would put a tier of questions.
So for example, some of the problems (not all) would have a Choice A, Choice B, and Choice C. Answering A correctly would get 5 of 5, B correctly would get 4 of 5, C correctly would get 3 of 5 [or 6/8/10 out of 10 if a more involved problem]. For example, on completing the square, A would be a quadratic with odd b value and a=/=1, B would either have even b and a=/=1 or odd b and a=1, C would be even b and a=1. They got credit for the highest tier they could successfully complete.
Oct 7, 2018
I've been thinking about what to do with missing assignments and I decided to enter zeroes for all of them today. I checked other grades and that's what most teachers do. I feel like if a kid tried on an exit ticket, I can give them half credit but if they don't even bother to turn it in, then there's not a lot I can do. I have four kids failing now (grades around 55%). Two kids know absolutely nothing and should be failing (single digit test scores.) I feel bad because one of them does try but has hasn't been able to do any of the work. Another kid has 10 missing assignments (I’m sure we can find them in his binder on Tuesday) and the other kid failed two quizzes and did not turn in several assignments. Most of my grades represent mastery at this point which I am fine with. I just hope admin is ok with 4 kids failing.