- Standards-based grading and consequently my whole grading system
- Getting papers back to kids on time
- Rigor (I'm okay with learning the material being easy, but I'm not okay with it being easy to pass when you don't do any work)
Okay, time for some self-recrimination!
Best Laid PlansThe plan looked like this. I was going to use rubrics and these rubrics would each be 25% of the grade and it was going to be ever so forward-thinking and objective and proficiency based.
What HappenedOverall, students hated it.
They really didn't like being penalized for classroom behavior in the "Communication" section. "Communication" wasn't actually objective at all since it was largely based on my recollections.
"Presentational" was really hard to figure out how to grade since all I had were Timed Writes & Free Writes, which the kids hated to do, and I'd made the rubric before actually seeing what they could do.
"Comprehension" was basically okay since it was based mostly on written "comprehension checks." I didn't even assess any culture, so that 25% was empty. I also hadn't realized yet that Output should really really really not be graded as hard as comprehension, so the 25% each categories was a terrible idea.
My gradebook now is a mess. My categories eventually just became Classwork and Understanding. The former is stuff we do in class that isn't meant to be major and is mostly a completion grade. The latter is comprehension checks. There used to be categories where Dictatios went and I tried doing DEA-style grades for Communication for a while, but it was bad. It was a mess. It's still a mess, honestly, and I don't feel like the grades really reflect student proficiency or effort. I have kids with B's who know almost nothing and do even less. That is a problem.
My students generally have no idea how any given assignment will affect their grade, and neither do I! Since I'm so bad at handing back papers on time, they're also usually entirely in the dark about their grades until progress reports time. Some surprises are good, like when you find a dollar in your pocket. Grade surprises can be good, but even then they shouldn't be happening.
In the future...Oh boy. Man, I don't know. All I know is I need it to be much more flexible from the beginning, and I need to design things so that both the kids and I have constant, current access to their grades. I'm thinking it might be one big category of points rather than differently weighted categories for different types of work. One day in the future I may try SBG or PBG again, but I now know two things:
- It's really important to design your rubrics based on actual student work, not what you hope they can do.
- New grading schemes are bewildering and upsetting for all concerned. Do not implement them all at once. Bad idea!
As for the organization thing, I'm planning to try to go (mostly) paperless. I want to use Schoology or another Learning Management System to collect student work in one place where we can track their progress and communicate about grades on a regular basis. The plan is for them to always have access to the grading scheme, their own work, and my comments. If they come up to me and ask what their grade is, I want to be able to say, "Go check." If they ask what they can do to bring it up, I want to be able to say, "Go check." I don't mean I want to push them away; rather, I want them to have a means of taking ownership of their progress themselves. Once they've looked, we can talk about it. But I shouldn't be the one holding all the keys. And I definitely shouldn't have custody of papers.
Anyway, that's one big way I feel I've failed this year. How about you? What's your biggest grading mistake?