|The view from here.|
Like Pernille Rip, three ideas around grades, homework and rewards are the foundation of my teaching practice.
- Grades measure what a students knows and is able to do. Behaviors, while learned, are not grade-worthy.
- Limit homework: time spent noodling around or playing with family and friends is important.
- Don't ruin kids with rewards or use grades or writing as punishment.
I've been thinking a lot about grades as I shift my practice to value learning more than compliance. When it comes to learning, real learning, what matters is effort and skill development. What does not matter is neatness or format (unless you're teaching citation methods).
When it comes to actually learning, writing in pen or pencil does not matter. When it comes to learning content, what order I staple my papers in should not count for half of the grade. When you do you the work does not matter. Turning in assignments on time or at the same time as everyone else in class does not matter.
Well, I take that back.
Timeliness matters a little bit to me. I know it shouldn't matter much. Adults don't even do the same thing at the same time, even when they are required to by law.
A late assignment should never be an average killer. A late assignment should create an untrue picture of what students know and can do.
Penalizing kids with zeroes is malpractice.
Take this scenario: the same student two different perspectives.
Late work--even late make up work--does not merit a zero. Rick Wormeli taught me that lesson long ago. I wrote about it here.
I forget things. This weekend I forgot to go to the grocery store. I forgot to schedule time to finish grading students' narratives. I forgot that I had made plans to see a play and plans to meet friends for dinner on the same day. I forgot I had a doctor's appoint on Monday afternoon that clashed with my son's Symphonic Band practice. I forgot to mail a package to a friend that I have been carry around town in the car since school started. I forgot to water the orchid that sits next to the bathtub.
Sometimes the things we forget are important and sometimes they are not. Sometimes the busy-busy of day to day derails even the best intentions.
|from Guskey, Thomas R. "Grading Policies that Work |
against Standards...and How to Fix Them."
High school kids have families too. Sometimes students have families in two homes and they split time between them. Sometimes the families have one parent or no parents, one child or many children. Sometimes another family member's schedule takes priority.
As a parent, I do not want my son punished for merely forgetting a task. I don't want him punished for trying to make something up late or past someone's arbitrary deadline. If he forgot to make up a quiz, let him apologize and take the quiz. Tell him you are disappointed. Talk to me (the parent) about his forgetfulness. I will teach him to keep track of what needs doing and to prioritize. I will teach him to be more responsible. I will apply consequences for the behavior. I want you to grade your content and his skill.
Punishing him with a zero for his behavior will not teach him your content.
I keep that in mind when I'm teaching the kids in my classroom. I will leave the teaching of responsibility and behavior to parents. I'm here to teach kids how to be better readers and writers.
Learning has no expiration date in my classroom.
community and valuing voice. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.
Slide by the Slice of Life buffet for seconds or link up to serve your own slice of life.
Rebekah O'Dell's post on Moving Writers titled "I Quit Grading" inspired me to write about one aspect of grading today.