New Grading Method

I often think about grading.  I used to feel good about the fact that I not only graded students’ English skills, but I also graded them on “citizenship” things like responsibility, honesty, etc…  (I’ll continue to use citizenship here to describe all of those non-academic qualitites…it’s just easier)  I would laugh at people who would bemoan the fact that educators were trying to teach morals instead of sticking to their disciplines.  It’s impossible, I would say.  If I take away points for an assignment because it’s turned in late, I’m teaching citizenship, not English.  If I give a student a zero for cheating, I’m teaching morals.

This is all still true.

However, I’ve realized that most of my students who fail do so because of citizenship, not ability.  That seems to be a fundamental problem.  One the one hand, I cannot discount citizenship qualities entirely or I run into all kinds of problems.  Students can turn in work whenever they want, aren’t held responsible for cheating, and teaching fails all around.  On the other hand, if citizenship is weighing out over education of my discipline, that seems to be a problem, too.  Right now, a student could fail my class despite actually learning the material.

Perhaps what I need to do is change my assessment practices:  If I can figure out a way to make my assignments tiered, it would be a start.  If I can create a “no homework” version of all of my assessment practices and make that worth a D grade, but on the other side of the scale, make A work more challenging and require both homework and thought.  In this way, simply not turning in homework would not be the end all of grading. If I can make D assessments that can be completed in class and still reflect understanding of the material, then I can cut down on the number of students failing my classes.  So far, that seems to be the number one ultimatum from administration.

I think this would be a lot of prep work…but maybe it would be worth it.  I’m not sure, but I think it’s worth pursuing.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.


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