This year I’ve used a 3-2-1 scale for grading all quizzes: 3 = mastery, 2 = proficiency, and 1 = Not Yet. Students can receive a 0, but it’s if they show absolutely no understanding (in other words, it’s very, very simple to get at least a 1).
I also provide answer keys in the back of the room and students grade themselves (with my blue felt markers) immediately after every quiz. I want students to go beyond grading and actually correct themselves, but many ignore that and/or forget to do it over time.
So I thought “What if I graded out of 4 and one of the points was for correcting all the missed work?” That means if they got everything right, they automatically got the extra point. I could also penalize students for not checking themselves carefully (another thing that bothers me! Students counting their scores as correct when they’re actually not!) Of course I still grade after all the students, but it shows a lack of effort and attention to detail that I want.
Right now I still have to translate all these grades into numbers, so 3 –> 100, 2 –> 85, 1 –> 50 and 0 –> 0.
With the extra point, I could make 4 –> 100, 3 –> 75 (or 80 or 85), 2 –> 50, 1 –> 25, 0 –> 0. It would still be easy for students to get “1” and then bump it up to a “2” with lots of corrections, but of course then they’re writing down all the correct work on their quiz in my blue pen, which is, I guess, a good exercise.
I’m going to file this away for next year (I don’t want to change grading practices too much in the middle of the year!)
After school today we had a staff meeting where we talked about reflecting on teaching and I realized I hadn’t reflected here in a while.
One reason I think I “took my foot off the gas” was because at the start of last year, an 8th grader told me “I found your blog and read what you’re teaching us–will we also be doing this activity and that activity?” On the one hand, that was great. On the other hand, this student had the potential to spoil and surprises that I had for others, so it kinda killed my blogging momentum.
Right now I think no students know about this, so I’m going to get back in the habit of reflecting on my teaching regularly.
So for today I just wanted to say one thing that happened in my class that has solidified one practice I do for the rest of my teaching career.
A student walking into my room to ask me a question. Her friend, probably an upperclassmen (Jr. or Sr.), who I do not know, came in with her and commented “that’s cool” pointing to my birthday whiteboard where I write student’s birthdays and half-birthdays.
If a student whose name isn’t on there likes that, think how much more that means when I recognize students’ birthdays and half-birthdays by writing it on the board even if I forget to tell them Happy Birthday on their birthday.
I will forever write student’s birthdays somewhere in my room for as long as I teach.
Yes, a student wrote down a fake name while they were in tutoring and I was out of the room at a faculty meeting.
And yes, it’s my wife’s birthday this week. Don’t worry, I’ve got a really good birthday present for her! I just hope it arrives on time.