From: Janet Clausen
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Subject: Re: Re: Grading: consider the political implications or don't get everyone mad at you!
Harry, I agree with your statement "grades are politically motivated". Yes, a teacher must know what the administration / Parents expect. High failure rates spur questions as does a high success rates. I teach at a private school where the administration will avoid conflict with the parents at all cost. Our school day is only 3 1/2 hours. I teach 6th grade, all subjects (Math, History, Science, Grammar, Spelling, Reading and Bible). We have no attendance policy and if a student should miss or fail a test, it is simply ommitted from their record. Because of this policy, I have designed my own way of grading that ensures that the students reach the objectives and there is happiness all around. It has caused some controversey and I have been questioned because all of my students have consistently made straight A's or A's and B's. My policy is as follows: I will NEVER "give" a grade to a student. They will earn that grade. I assign homework on a daily basis (what is not completed in class is assigned for homework). Because of the time factor, the children know that the more they misbehave, the more homework they will have. The next day, I check to see if the homework is done. Each child receives a check for completed homework. 1/2 is noted for partially done and a 0 for work not done. Those who either have incomplete work or made no attempt still have to complete the work and I check it the next day. For every day that the work is not done they get a 0. So far, only one student has tried to test the waters and after the 2nd 0, he decided that it might be wise to finish his work. If a student makes less that 80 % on a test or quiz, they are given the opportunity to retest. The two grades are then averaged to get a grade. I do not believe that a child should be penalized because they didn't get something the first time. It may have been the way that I explained it to them. This method also relieves "test anxiety". I'm happy because I know that they've learned the material, the kids are happy because they're learning in a positive "I can do it" atmosphere, the parents are happy because grades are up and the kids are happy, and Administration is happy because the parents are paying the tuition. We have days that aren't so good but overall the system works well. I knew that it was up to me the first time report cards came out and a student who should have received a C, had a B on his report card. If the administration was going to change the grades that I turned in, then those kids were going to earn them. Janet
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