If I had a nickel for every time a student came up to me after a test, the last week of the quarter, or even after report cards were released and asked “What can I do to raise my grade?” I might have been able to retire before I hit the age of 30. At the time it was easy for me to blame each of these conversations on point grubbing or students who didn’t prepare well enough the first time, but the fact of the matter is that I had created a game for them and they were simply playing by my rules. I realize now that the grading system I used in the classroom was a simple translation of the system I had experienced as a student and as a student teacher. In fact, perhaps like many of you, my very first grade book was primarily set up by my mentor teacher, with very little input from me. I didn’t know any better and there were far more important things, in my mind, to worry about than my gradebook. If I had only taken a moment to ask myself a few simple questions I might have avoided utilizing the following counterproductive and/or destructive grading practices:
So what questions would I pose to my first-year-teacher self? There are four of them—simple in nature, but can be very difficult to answer:
These are the four questions that were posed to the Secondary Grading Committee when they created the Purpose and Beliefs document related to grading, as shown below:
I encourage all RPS teachers to review this document and ask yourself these four simple questions.
In subsequent blog posts, I will be sharing some tips and tricks within some of these key grading and reporting areas. In the meantime, I encourage you to talk about grading and reporting with your colleagues and, if you don’t mind a good dose of passion, contact me and I'll join the conversation!
This post brought to you by Brandon Macrafic, POSA focusing on Career & College Readiness and administrator at CTECH
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