Sunday, September 13, 2015

10 signs there's a grading problem in your classroom

1). You create and design assignments and assessments based purely on the number of grades you currently have in your gradebook.

2). When talking about the next assignment or learning event, the first question the students ask is, 'is this for points?'

3). When talking about the next assignment or learning event, the second question the students ask is, 'how many?'

4). When many of your students who have the strongest grasp on the material and/or skills have some of the lowest grades due to 'not doing their work.'

5). When talking with parents at parent teacher conferences (which honestly need a complete overhaul by the way) you find yourself telling multiple parents that their child would be doing much better grade-wise if they would just do the homework.

6). When at the end of the quarter or semester, students and parents start asking you for additional work and/or extra credit opportunities to pull up a grade in the 11th hour.

7). When you have to attach a grade to anything and everything because if you don't, students won't do it.

8). When you do group work, you give every single group member the same exact grade based on the work output of the entire group.

9). When you want and expect there to be a balanced number of students at each grade achievement level.

10). When you believe that grades should be used as compensation for work done and when you believe that a grade will motivate students to do their best work.

Now, I've pointed out quite a few problems above and you might be wondering, so... what's next? What's the solution to these problems?

I would recommend following @kenoc7, @rickwormeli2, @tguskey, @mssackstein@kenmattingly@mctownsley, @myrondueck and @markbarnes19 on Twitter, as well as the #sblchat hashtag as there are a great many minds using that hashtag to share awesome thoughts on grading and assessment.

I would also recommend reading @kenoc7's 'Repair Kit for Grading,' and @rickwormeli2's 'Fair isn't always Equal.' Also, check out the Facebook group: Teachers Throwing out Grades.

In closing, this whole grading and assessment conversation definitely isn't easy... but continually ask yourself... 'what's the point and purpose of grades in your classroom?' Your answer to this question should help guide you in this process.