Just wondering what you all think of this

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by trulyblssd, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2005
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 1, 2009

    Not sure what to think of this and I wanted to get a little feedback from others in Education. This is where our school is leaning.

    "Historically, grades have been a mixture of each teacher’s homework, class work, quizzes, tests, and finals, along with any make up and extra credit work to result in a grade.

    In a standards based system, the measure is on student learning. Did the student learn the critical standards? It may take multiple re teachings and multiple quizzes for the student to reach advanced status. Are they then deserving an “A”? or something less? What if they scored an “F”, a “D”, then an “A”. The real question is whether we value what the student learned or we value our grading policy, and how grades reflect emphasis on learning. History and practice tell us to value the policy. A focus on learning simply asks the question: Did the student learn? When they do, what grade do they get? We’ll discuss further!!"
    --This is from admin at my school.


    I just feel like all accountability from the student is taken away. Ideas, thoughts, comments???
     
  2.  
  3. KateL

    KateL Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    2

    Dec 1, 2009

    Philosophically, I think grades should reflect a student's level of mastery of the material, not how diligent they are at turning in homework. However, for this to work, I think that you'd have to have all of the schools in the district have the same policy. Start the students young with the expectation that grades reflect only mastery and they won't try to game the system as much by procrastinating until the end of the quarter. Maybe give a separate grade for "citizenship" or something to reflect diligence? The high school would also need to explain their grading system to colleges in the transcripts since most high schools don't grade this way.

    I think that if we switched to this system, some grades would go up and some would go down. The students who never turn in homework but do fine on the tests would get higher grades, but the students who skate by on effort and don't really understand the material would get lower grades. That doesn't sound so unfair, does it?
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Dec 1, 2009

    I feel that such a grading system, while allowing students to "succeed" in the school environment, sets them up for failure in college and in the working world.

    School is about more than academics. Primary and secondary schools teach students how to function in society. Bosses will sanction employees who don't produce the required work on time and without multiple "do overs". They also won't accept "But I tried really hard". To that end, neither proposed grading system fully meets students needs. There needs to be a compromise.

    With that in mind, my grading system allowed for a little of both. I gave credit for eventual mastery of the material, but unless the student got it right in the expected timeline, it did not deserve an A. An A grade signifies something special, and requiring extra time and multiple test retakes to master something doesn't fit that description.

    I also only graded homework for completion. As a math teacher, I feel the purpose of homework is both for practice, and for the student to figure out what he or she is not understanding. The first part of the next day's class was questions about homework, so the students who attempted their homework and didn't understand it knew exactly what they needed to ask. I told them that the assignment should take no more than 20 minutes. If they took longer than that, they could write a note and turn in what they had and that counted.

    I feel that offering a combination of these things allowed my students to earn the best grades they were capable of earning.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,792
    Likes Received:
    1,259

    Dec 1, 2009

    Both are important.

    There has to be a standard to teach toward . . . otherwise you never know when students "get it". But students have to also be taught HOW to go about managing their time and getting things done.

    And there are plenty of opportunities for "on the job learning" in all kinds of careers. People often talk about how there aren't "do overs" in the real world . . . but that's not true.

    Some people also forget what it's like to learn something. Do you always learn to do something right the first time?

    Using grading is tricky. For instance, some people insist on taking a percentage off a student's work for turning it in late. But that doesn't do anything to show what a student knows. It just shows that they didn't turn it in on time. That part should be separate.
     
  6. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2005
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 1, 2009

    I totally understand everybody's opinions and they are greatly appreciated. I wanted to get my wheels turning around this subject, b/c I know that it will be a hot topic soon in our district.

    My only concern is that our district always strives for 100% and where do you draw the line. For example, I have about 5 students in one class that will not do anything. If I have to re-teach until they get it other students that have gotten it get left behind. Also, class sizes would have to change. 38-40 students in a class just wont work! I also don't want students getting the idea that they can just re-take and re-take until they get the grade they want.

    There are some really good things and bad things to think about. I have a feeling that the discussion will not end here! :)
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 1, 2009

    This is an issue I've struggled with myself during my internship. I did substitute work last year is several of the middle school classes in our school district, so I had an idea of what type of homework assignments the teachers sent home.

    As a student teacher, I began my first series of lessons with the 8th graders on the Pythagorean Theorem. I felt it was fairly simple (a2 + b2 = c2), but after 4 days of instruction and two homework assignments, half the class had failing grades. So I threw those out and went over the assignments again. Obviously, the students had not learned the material yet, so it was too soon to start giving homework assignments. I spent another day in class going over several problems from the homework and let them do the first two assignments over. The grades were much better the second time around.

    There have been several times during my student teaching that I felt I wasn't giving enough homework assignments, but I also realized the most important thing is for the students to learn the material and how to apply it, not be scored on how well they can churn out practice problems. So, like mmswm, I've tried to achieve a balance. I spend the first couple of days of a new unit just doing problems in class, then start giving homework assignments. I've also allowed the students 1 "make-up" day each grading period to re-do a missed assignment or one they scored low on. I don't really like doing that and I'm not sure if I will continue it when I have my own classroom, but it works for now.

    Of course, I have my share of students that will just choose not to do the assignment when it is first given out, then expect to make it up later. Nope, sorry. It doesn't work that way. If you didn't get your homework because you were just too lazy, you don't get a chance to make it up.
     
  8. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 8, 2009

    I COMPLETELY agree with the original post but recognize that most people on this board don't agree with the likes of Ken O'Connor (this quote sounds almost like an O'Connor quote).
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. rpan,
  2. sevenplus,
  3. LakeviewBlinds
Total: 173 (members: 4, guests: 149, robots: 20)
test