Grading Question

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by cmlisenk, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. cmlisenk

    cmlisenk Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2013

    Hi all,
    I'm a student teacher for a 7th grade social studies class and I gave the kids a map quiz yesterday. I put the map with 10 countries numbered 1-10 on the projector and they had to write down the names of those 10 countries/bodies of water. One student gave me "Indian Sea" instead of Indian Ocean and others have spelled some wrong like "Sri Lake" for Sri Lanka and "Afghanistand" for Afghanistan. My CT told the students that they should spell the word so that it is readable and they are but now nit picky should I be about this? :huh:
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 19, 2013

    I think that you should talk to your cooperating teacher and see what s/he thinks.

    If it were me, I would probably mark those wrong, but I'm a stickler. I might also have given them a word bank with more options than questions so that this problem could have been avoided.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    It depends on what the purpose of the assessment was. Are these areas something they'd been covering for awhile? How familiar with the material are they? How would they do overall on the quiz if you didn't count spelling against them?

    Above all, check with your CT and see what he/she usually does with quizzes.
     
  5. cmlisenk

    cmlisenk Rookie

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    She told me and them that as long as it is readable it would be ok but spelling was important. They were given the announcement of the quiz and a copy of the map for them to fill in on Monday and we had the quiz on Friday after talking about the countries and completing a map activity the whole hour on Thursday so they have had exposure and knowledge of the quiz for 5 days.
     
  6. cmlisenk

    cmlisenk Rookie

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    So far I'm grading the ones I know are either right or wrong and I will check with her Tuesday morning about the others, that way I have some time to grade them before class. However, I would love to be able to come to my own conclusion and completely grade them this weekend. She has been very helpful but Friday when I would ask her a few questions (after completing a couple weeks of observations, working a bit with the kids, and short moments of instruction on my own), she has been reversing the question to me because she wants me to start running it as my own class for the next month and a half or so.
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    If they had a week to learn the terms, I would probably not be as strict on the spelling as long as I was 100% sure they knew which country/location they were talking about. For example, if they add in a couple letters or forget a letter, I'd be more willing to let that slide.

    Spelling is always hard for me to grade because I have some truly brilliant friends who are terrible spellers. I'm always very clear when I will be grading their spelling.
     
  8. cmlisenk

    cmlisenk Rookie

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    So is marking "Indian Sea" incorrect acceptable? I feel like that could be a little nit picky but its name is the Indian Ocean but what about "Sir Lanka" or "Sri Lanaka" for Sri Lanka?
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I'm an English teacher, not SS so take that for what it's worth but I'm more inclined to take the Sri Lanka examples than the Indian Sea one.

    I take all kinds of answers for their spellings of authors on quizzes and tests. Usually they like to drop or add the letter "e". I can't tell you how many times I hear about Shakespear's plays...
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jan 19, 2013

    I wouldn't take off for misspeling. However, I would take off for listing the Indian Ocean, as the Indian Sea. However, I would only take off a few points not the entire point value.
     
  11. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Afghanistand I would accept as correct.

    Sri Lake is too far from correct to get full value. I would give half credit.

    Indian Sea...was there an expectation to know the difference between a sea and an ocean? I would probably give half credit for this, too.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I'm a terrible speller, so I tend to be more lenient with some things.

    I really think it depends on what you're wanting from the lesson. With some of my quizzes spelling is very important. Some others, not so much. However, I always make sure students know that spelling will count when it does.

    What about partial credit? The students did know part of the answer...
     
  13. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I teach fourth, but I always let my students know if spelling will count. Usually it doesn't count, because I am more interested in their content knowledge, but if there is a word bank to use I always make it count.
     
  14. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think it is most helpful if students know before the test what your expectations are. If you tell them that spelling will count then it must count. If you didn't tell them that spelling will count, then this time I would not count off for it.

    I do agree that Indian Sea is not the same as Indian Ocean, so some points should go off for that.

    I also feel what grade you teach matters on this. If I taught high school, my expectation is that the words will be spelled correctly. Third or fourth grade I would be more lenient as some are still very poor spellers at that age. I would probably only take a point or two off for spelling.

    To give an example, I do require students to know and label where all 50 states are in 5th grade, but as this is a challenge, I don't mandate perfect spelling on this. We go over the spelling of the states during weekly Spelling tests later.
     
  15. cuberoot

    cuberoot Rookie

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    I agree on half-credit for those close answers.

    Even on Jeopardy they will give credit for some seriously screwed up answers, and that's for real money!
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    No, they don't. :confused:
     
  17. cuberoot

    cuberoot Rookie

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    Actually, they do sometimes.

    They will nit-pick on some answers, but then give credit with takebacks and really screwed up handwriting.

    The judging is very inconsistent in my opinion.

    I don't have any specific examples of what I'm talking about, but even in the last 6 months I have seen them accept some answers which made not want to watch the show ever again.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.
     
  19. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    After some googling, there does seem to be a lot of controversy around the spelling accepted and not accepted on Jeopardy. I rarely watch the show and had no idea...
     
  20. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    As a 10-year 7th grade history teacher there is no way I'd take points off for any of those. You're asking 12 year olds to memorize a bunch of hard-to-spell trivia that seemingly has little context behind it.

    That said, as far as it goes for you I'd suggest asking yourself if they had spelled them correctly would it have made any difference in their understanding of history? What standard(s) were you measuring with this quiz? Does their spelling reflect on that standard? What was the point of the quiz to begin with?
     
  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Unless spelling is one of the standards I'm covering, I rarely worry about it unless it's particularly egregious, such as the student swapping homophone pairs I've previously discussed with them. I'm more concerned with the content being learned and the student staying curious enough to stick with me.
     
  22. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    As a 7th grade English teacher, I take 1/2 credit for misspelled words on quizzes and tests. Part of the curriculum is being able to spell correctly.

    As for "Indian Sea," I'd count it wrong. It's not a sea.
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    In the past I have have given full credit but had students quickly correct the spelling.

    But I would certainly ask your CT.
     
  24. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I would give full credit for everything, but the Indian Sea... that is simply incorrect, though I may be generous enough to give them a half mark for getting the word Indian.
     
  25. cuberoot

    cuberoot Rookie

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    Spelling, and even worse? Pronunciation.

    Just the fact that someone can say a completely wrong answer, then correct themselves is a problem to me.

    I also won't say that Alex coaches some of the contestants, but it's very possible. I think that he reminds the contestants too much about the specific categories after they've given wrong answers, such as "Remember, every question must begin with the letter D" or whatever.

    I know the show isn't rigged, but it is very inconsistent.

    And of course, on topic: I am a big fan of partial credit for non-standardized testing. For normal everyday testing, I think partial credit can always be helpful for a student's confidence.
     
  26. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    I agree with most people here. If they were mostly correct but missed a key bit (Indian Sea instead of Ocean) give them partial credit. If they got it right but spelled it phonetically then give them full credit, especially with something tricky to spell like Afghanistan. Most of my high schoolers couldn't spell that correctly.
     
  27. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    I've thought about partial credit a lot...still thinking!
    I try to think that an "A," whatever the teacher means by an "A," means exceptional, you got it all exactly right and did it very well: a "B" means very good, you got it right but missed an inconsequential part somewhere; a "C" means average, you got the big picture and you got the right answer but missed parts of it; "D" means you missed it but have some concept, and "F" means you left it blank or missed it all, obviously have no clue.
    With that in mind, I'd give at least a "C" to any kid who got the answer right but spelled it wrong, unless I had made spelling and correct terminology ("Ocean" vs "Sea") a major part of the right answer. If the goal was to know geography, then if he/she knew it was the "Indian" something but missed "Ocean" and called it the Indian "Sea" to me that's a "C" grade. If he'd gotten "Indean Ocean" (right term, spelled slightly wrong) it would have been a "B." But if I'd really stressed that spelling and correct terminology was a major part of the correct answer, then it would be a "D" grade for Indian "Sea." An "F" grade would have been "Pacific Ocean" no matter if it was spelled correctly or not :)
     
  28. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jan 24, 2013

    Another way to look at this is to think about preventing it in the future. One way would be to have a list of 30 possible answers for your 10 question map.
     
  29. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    So, essentially your argument is we should punish kids with poor grades in order to make the lives of teachers better?

    And people wonder why the public seems to be against us...
     
  30. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think it depends on what your criteria are. If you didn't stress spelling as one of the criteria that you are grading on, then you probably shouldn't grade on it. However if you tell students ahead of time, and they are clear on your expectations, by all means mark them down.

    As for the philosophy of grading students down based on spelling mistakes, I don't see why not, if your criteria was clear. There are pros and cons and it depends on what you value: clear communication or demonstration of understanding. Both of these are valid goals.
     
  31. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    A lot of assumptions have been made in this post.

    Just because I don't always take points off for spelling doesn't mean my kids can't read, write, or comprehend :rolleyes:
     
  32. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If I may jump in here....

    I can kind of see where frstrd is coming from. I work in a setting where the focus for students has always been on working in groups and presenting what they have learned via whatever means they can (pictures, poems, songs, etc.). The end result is that they often can't read or write well. They certainly can't spell reliably.

    I don't necessarily agree with a sweeping policy of marking every error wrong on every assignment. At the same time, it's got to start somewhere. I often get 10th graders turning in Venn diagrams when they are instructed to submit a 5-paragraph paper "comparing and contrasting" anything. They really struggle to make the leap from working product (draft, graphic organizer) to finished product. They don't seem to see a difference.
     
  33. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Caesar,

    I think that stems from a lot of different problems, not just allowing them to misspell words without penalty. In my handwritten assignments, I usually take off very few points for spelling errors unless the errors are large and frequent. However, I'd like my kids to demonstrate their use of vocabulary, even if they forget to add an "e" at the end of the word. I always make sure to correct the word though. In typed work, they are expected to proofread and have everything spelled correctly. They can lose up to two letter grades for misuse of English conventions.

    I have little issue with the quality of work that I receive. With the few students I do have problems with, it's indicative of a larger problem. Though I can guarantee you that none of my kids would turn in a Venn diagram when I asked for a paper. They know it would earn them a zero.

    There was a teacher at my old school who would take off half a point for each word misspelled. The kids could write that word three times and turn it in to receive the credit back. It's not a bad option.
     
  34. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Yes, I've been in them. My kids in those classes could think even if they couldn't spell.

    And, you completely dodged my response any way. You said quite clearly that the reason to lower the students grade was so it would be easier for their teachers later. Nowhere did you say how it would be a benefit for the student.
     

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