Discussion in 'General Education' started by Brendan, Jul 5, 2010.
Jul 5, 2010
Feel free to elaborate and justify...if you use a total points system approximate.
Our math department (middle school) has agreed to a 70% assessment/30% classwork/homework/other. Previously, all the teachers were doing their own thing, so the grades didn't mean the same thing from teacher to teacher. This will help.
My department (HS SS) also adopted a uniform grading policy this year for the same reason.
The school board requires 60% for tests, but teachers may split the 40% however they choose. Many teachers leave it 60-40 and do not give quiz grades. This just works for me because I do like to give quizzes. Sometimes on a larger project, I may decide to count it as a quiz + test. For example, I have a poetry project that lasts a month and includes several elements. Although it is long, most of it is not that difficult. I don't really think it needs to count as two test grades, but I do believe it should be weighted a bit more than one test grade. Therefore, I opt for one grade in each category.
1/3 quzzes, homework, classwork
1/3 trimester exam.
I don't count class participation, so it's 1/6 of your grade in my class.
Jul 7, 2010
I teach middle school social studies and use the following system for grading:
33% Class and Homework
33% Quizzes and Tests
and 1% bonus? :lol:
Depends on the subject. And the class. We don't have a school wide policy, so each teacher has to do what works for them. It's confusing for the parents, and I sometimes wish we were more uniform in lots of areas. But I do like being able to adjust if necessary.
15% Quizzes/ Projects
I taught 3rd. It's hard to fail if you do your classwork but you can't get an A without doing homework.
I like this!
I have been playing with various systems over the last few years. Last school year, I had a 60% / 40% split, with 60% in tests and quizzes, and 40% for classwork and homework.
I've tried 50/50, and I've also tried to weight it more heavily toward the work, but cannot justify it any longer. I had too many kids do very well on tests, but hated doing homework, or even classwork. I couldn't justify failing a kid who knew the material. They can't possibly get an "A" either, but they won't flunk.
Jul 8, 2010
60% major assessments / 40% minor tasks
how do you effectively assess of for mastery? with this system can a student could fail every summative assessment and still pass?
20% Class Participation and Organization
30% Class Work
No a 50 is still an F a 60 is a D. In 3rd Most students who do all their classwork also do their homework and do moderately well on tests. Those who don't do their classwork also don't bother to turn in Homework and don't do well on tests. Most 3rd graders aren't savvy enough to game the system.
Assessment for Mastery is still based on the quizzes and tests. As well as the multitude of county mandated assessments we had to do every month. Trust me we were assessed out the yin yang no problem figuring out who needed help with what.
I should add that our principal had a unwritten rule that no one could get less than a 50 on their report card. "It's still failing it just doesn't look so hopeless."
Added to that Classwork is graded on a basic OSU scale so a student who gets a U all the way through gets 60% of the 50% (33 points) The 50% classwork was grade level decision. The other 50% was ours to do with as we wanted.
This policy kills me. A student's grade should reflect his or her degree of mastery or failure.
I'm not familiar with the OSU scale. Could you give a brief description of it?
One potential problem I see is having 50% left to the discretion of each teacher. While I'm sure that just means each teacher can decide for themselves how that 50% is divided, I can also see the possibility of some teachers creating a personal scale that allows them to give grades based on their likes and dislikes towards students rather than on the knowledge and ability of students (I had a teacher my first year in college that did this). Even if this doesn't happen, I can see students claiming a teacher failed them because "he doesn't like me".
When I took the Effective Teacher Training class to become a certified Substitute, we watched a video of several different teachers going over their grading system with the students for the first time (some were good and some were bad). I've always remembered one teacher in particular who specifically addressed that issue. Classwork, homework, quizzes and tests added up to 90% of the the students grade, with 10% being reserved for participation. He explained that even if he did dislike a particular student, that student could still get an "A" (90%) based solely on their work, quiz and test scores. At most, he could only influence 10% of their grade. He then went on to say "So what kind of student do I like? I like students that come to class on time. I like students that are prepared for class when they come in. I like students that have their books, paper and pencil on their desk and are ready to begin learning when I start teaching."
In other words, come to class prepared to participate and learn and you will do fine.
In my last building, we used an 80% summative/20% formative scale. I liked it, but would have been happier with something like a 95% summative/5% formative scale.
Currently I use 80/20 but people are all over the place. I really wish we had a uniform policy for my current department.
Just guessing, but I think it's outstanding/satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
Thanks, glen. I was drawing a blank on that and when I Googled, I kept getting references to Ohio State University.
I agree its silly to pad a students grade. However, I can see, to some extent, what he means. After all when we give only a letter grade are we not fudging a bit after all a F is anywhere from a 0-59 and an A 90-100 or there about.
"The other 50% was ours to do with as we wanted."
Well we did have to fall within reason and use items such as homework, participation, tests, quizzes, projects. It was more that the percents could be different. I could see how some one could manipulate that though. But then again many teachers have the chance to do just that anyway when they create their own scale.
For the first half of the year we use:
For the second half we use:
I don't give any weight to homework - I use it only as formative assessment. Who's to say who actually did the homework? I use total points, so it's probably 90-95% assessment and 5-10% classwork. I have a very strong belief that you EARN your grade - what it is, is what it is.
Also, in response to easy grading in lower elementary, it makes my life really difficult as an upper elementary teacher. It's like a reality check for parents and they aren't happy about it. At my first job (where no one told me that everyone was just supposed to get an A - silly me!), every single class except mine marched the entire class up for highest honors at the end of the quarter assembly. So, when only the students who truly earned that honor went up for my class, parents were upset. "My daughter has always had an A in math!!!" What I wanted to reply, was that her previous teachers had lied and given her a false understanding of her knowledge, but of course, I didn't
To give an example from my current school, sixth grade is the first grade to receive letter grades (in preparation for JH) while the rest of the school is assessed on an EMP√ scale (there is no agreement among the building about what constitutes an exceeds, meets, progresses or needs improvement (√) but that's another issue all together). Imagine you are a parent whose child received mostly Ps - you think this is pretty good, my child is making progress! But, then you get to sixth grade and your child gets a D, because that's really what "progressing" meant all along . . .
So to all lower elementary teachers, please give the grades that your students have earned, that honestly reflect what they know through assessments, so that later on life, they won't be shocked when they find out what grades they truly should have been earning all along!
Hawk, I sooo understand. I'm a sixth grade teacher as well, the grade during which many students earn their first B or worse. Parents cannot comprehend and this is possible and we hear the same line time and again, "But's he's always had straight As." Yes, yes...I understand. And smiley faces and butterflies and cookies. I get it. Well, I give those to my students as well, but you get my point. It's all roses and sunshine and then reality hits them like a brick wall. I fear this comes off as insulting to elementary teachers, and that is certainly not my intention, but in my experience, students are not at all accustomed to accountability...I'm not sure why this is. Students are shocked--shocked, I tell you!--to learn that assignments are not optional.
ETA: I know elementary is not all roses and sunshine. I really do! I think part of the issue is that in middle school attitudes begin to change and less effort is put into school in some circumstances, and that surely also accounts for "The First B."
I agree with hawk and JustMe that students should earn what they get. Unlike hawk, I believe homework/classwork should be part of the overall grade, although my ST experience and (more recently) my first interview have shown me I need to lessen the emphasis I place on HW.
I do know who does the homework in 95% of the cases, because I give the students time in class to work on it. I use homework/classwork interchangeably because the students should NOT have to take any assigned work home with them IF they use the time given in class for it.
As a math teacher, I feel practice and repetition ARE vital parts of the learning process. The more experience students get with a formula or concept, the more thoroughly they learn it. So homework/classwork will likely always be a big part of my assessment tools and the student's participation.
While I don't have a formal breakdown yet, I'm looking at something along the lines of:
Student won't be able to make an "A" just by passing the tests. By the same token, good homework grades will help offset any low test or quiz grades that occur due to test anxiety.
Of course, some students simply won't put out any effort at all, which always amazes me. My CT offered her students several opportunities to earn a free "100" homework grade throughout the year. The first day of class, we gave out textbooks. She offered a free "100" grade to each student that had a cover on their textbook within 1 week. Some students still did not even try. Progress reports went out at the mid-point of each grading period. Students earned another free "100" just for getting the report signed by their parents (which was required by the school) and returning it within 2 days. Once again, several student didn't even make the attempt.
So, when a student actively chooses NOT to do any classwork/homework, their grade should reflect that.
I teach middle school science. Our grade break-downs are left up to each teacher. I grade by total points, not percents, but it usually ends up about 50% tests and quizzes and 50% classwork and homework. I really can't give any more points to the tests. In my district, 7th grade is the first time the students have any science instruction (!), so they often do poorly on the tests at the beginning of the year. They are also way too accustomed to multiple choice tests with 2 obviously wrong answers, so they have trouble with more difficult multiple choice and with short answer questions. Finally, the students tend to focus all of their homework/studying time on English and math, because the message has always been that these are the only classes that matter. The classwork and homework grades ensure that students who are putting in the effort at least pass the class, albeit sometimes with a D. I've never had students who don't do the classwork score really high on the tests (because they have no background knowledge), so failing the students who know it already isn't an issue.
Cerek, I 100% agree with you about the importance of practice. We have classwork/homework every day, but I only use to assess where they're at, who needs more support, who needs extension, etc. I assess it, but I don't "grade" it, if that makes any sense. I guess I just don't see the importance of including practice (where they should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them without punishment) in their final grade.
Between the two, I value work completed in class way more than homework because I know exactly who did the work and how much help they needed to complete it.
I also agree that lack of effort should be reflected in their grade, I just don't think it should be in the subject grade. A math grade for instance should reflect that student's knowledge and ability about math, not their effort, which is really a responsibility grade. When my students don't complete their work, they lose points from their responsibility grade which allows them to participate in Fun Friday and goes on their report card in the character section.
I didn't start out teaching with this philosophy of keeping academics separate from from responsibility, but it just makes more sense to me now. To each their own!
How are you able to separate the knowledge and responsibility? Do you grade only what the student turns in like say a partially completed test? I do agree that it is far better to separate the two but am not sure how to make that happen in a consistent and fair way.
I understand what your saying, hawk, and I realize I put too much emphasis on homework grades. I had a difficult time during my ST realizing I didn't have to grade (or record) every single homework assignment. It's just how I learned when I was in school, so I have a hard time accepting the fact that I can have students just do 5-10 problems and - as long as they try each one and show their work - the get credit for it.
I also have a difficult time separating knowledge and responsibility. During my ST, I gave each class a "make-up day" so they could redo any missing assignments or improve the lowest HW grade. One 8th grader that had 3 "0"s chose to spend the class socializing instead of working on the missing assignments. I finally told him the make-up was NOT optional, so he needed to sit down and get to work.
I also used homework grades to enforce the "no pen" rule in my classroom. Actually, the rule was "If you do it in pen, you do it again". The kids laughed about that and didn't really take it serious, until I handed back two papers marked "0" because they had been done in pen. Making the students copy their HW over in pencil (because they had gotten each problem correct) let the class know I was serious about the rule. I know that might seem petty to some teachers, but I noticed other teachers (that I observed during my ST) had similar rules. One 8th grade teacher at a different school had written on his board: Homework Rules: 1) No Name -10 points, 2) Don't show work -10 points, 3) Done in pen -10 points.
So I'm not the only math teacher that didn't like grading papers done in fluorescent ink.
Do the students care if you label something as a test if it counts the same amount of percentage points as homework? Would this not mean that a 50 point project is worth the same as a 50 point test or homework assignment? If my quiz percentage wasn't any higher than my daily assignments, I don't think my kids would study for them at all. I'm questioning because I'm considering using the 40% I'm allowed as a whole. That is, I'll have 60% tests/ 40% daily, but I won't have any quiz grades. Or, I'll just make all of my quizzes fall into the test category, but have them only count 25 pts or fewer.
For us, homework is done for practice - except...
I do take grades once a week (or at least 1x per chapter) on math homework,
and I do grade sci/ss homework (we call it an easy A because they should get an A if they use their books) because if I didn't, I might only have 2 test grades in a grading period. (Our Sci/SS homework involves correctly using vocab and finding info in the text to complete a graphic organizer.)
Classwork will occasionally be graded - but not daily.
Quizzes, classwork, projects, and homework are weighted 1, tests are weighted double, and unit tests (covering more chapters) are weighted triple. Students and parents are informed of this at the beginning and throughout the year.
For tests, I give students as much time as they need to complete the test, so I've never had an incomplete test turned in before. Projects and written assignments are a very different story. I'm big on teaching prioritization and time management. For a large project or paper, I always pass out a rubric and depending on the project, a time line for when certain things should be completed (notes due x/x, rough draft x/x, etc). I make them check in with me to prove they are completing the small steps. If they're late, they lose responsibility points. If however, on the day a large project is due and things are missing, my students know that they will be graded on what is there. In this case effort is mixed into their grade, but I feel like after being given a long time, plus my guidance and assistance, it should be done.
Out of all the large projects, I only had one student who turned something in that truly didn't meet the requirements. She earned an F based on the rubric. Her parents agreed with me. On the next big project, she did an amazing job, so she definitely learned a lesson.
I don't think there is a perfect way to separate effort and work as the two work together, but I do try my best and always clearly state my expectations to my students. The biggest area I feel I'm able to separate the two is with daily homework. Since I don't grade homework, it doesn't affect their grade if they don't have it turned in, but they do lose privileges in class (Fun Friday) and there's a form that goes home to their parents & has to come back signed. Also, I tell them that the only person they are hurting is themselves - the homework isn't for me, it's for their own learning and practice.
Jul 9, 2010
I'm a strong believer in homework and classwork. My assignments will almost always be graded for accuracy. I won't take off for critical thinking questions that aren't quite right but they back up their answer, however if I ask a simple black and white question I expect the answer to be correct.
So many great reasons for responses! There seems to be a difference between elem and MS or HS as to what is graded and how the grades are figured. That has me wondering how my own kids' HS teachers would respond to this poll. When school starts back, I will read through the parent letters with particular attention to see if this is addressed.