Monday, October 20, 2008

Common Ground Helps Us Move in the Right Direction

For our statewide inservice, I attended the grading strand at the suggestion of my district supervisor, Mike Miller. The strand, presented by Heather Boggs Sass, Ph.D from Ohio, was informative and compelling. The most important point was that we must find common ground in our grading practices at our schools. If nothing else, teachers in the same department should grade consistently. They should agree on a grading scale and determine what a grade means. We know this is especially important now that Integrade Pro is available to parents through In Touch.

Referring to Integrade Pro, Ms Sass suggested that we use the special code of "*" to indicate that a student missed an assignment. It will still hold the value of a 0 but it will differentiate between a true failing grade and a missed assignment. Secondly, she suggested that we think about the power of "I." This stands for Incomplete. If a student fails to turn in an assignment, placing an Inc in the grid for the missed grade will mean that the final grade will show as an INC and cannot be calculated until that Inc is replaced with a grade for the assignment.

Additionally, students who have not turned in an assignment get an immediate pass to the homework club. This means that they stay after for the homework club or they go to "tutor" lunch the next day - maybe both. This also means that they do NOT go to sports or music or drama practice or any other club meeting until the missed assignment is in. Sorry about what that does to the big game or music competition or play coming up. Too bad about the homecoming dance. This sounds very harsh but if the consequences are real, students will start to get their homework done. Additional reading: "The Case Against the Zero" and "Effective Grading"- both by Douglas B Reeves align with these thoughts. Ask me for copies.

My five pages of notes can be accessed here. I spent an evening rewriting them so you could read them. Enjoy!

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