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Q&A #5103

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Grading policy

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From: bteacher 
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2003081613:20:14
Subject: Re: Re: Grading: consider the political implications or don't get everyone mad at you!


I have been teaching for 6 years - mostly jr. high science in catholic
schools.  I have had my share of parents that were mad at me because I
don't give away A's and B's for free....Now, call me crazy....but to
me, HOLDING CHILDREN RESPONSIBLE for a REASONABLE LEVEL OF WORK is
ESSENTIAL to my own sanity and the students will benefit - even if the
parent is mad.  

In my mind, I gave the children every opportunity to do well.  They
were allowed to hand in homework late (for -5 points per day for up to
5 school days).  One missing or poor homework grade was dropped per
quarter.

"Study Guides" were given to all the students to complete.  If they
completed the whole sheet, they had an opportunity to earn +3 points
of extra credit toward each test.  All they had to do was correct
their wrong answers.  They didn't receive the extra credit if they
didn't bother to correct - which was done orally together in class the
day before the test and all they had to do was write it down.    What
a coincidence! The students who were diligent about correcting their
mistakes got higher scores!  

Any student who earned a grade less than 50% on their test was
automatically boosted to a 50% so that they could have SOME chance of
getting themselves out of the hole.  

Two "Opening Questions" were given EVERY DAY about the previous day's
material - main points that I really wanted them to focus on.... and
these questions somehow mysteriously made thier way onto my tests.

Well... guess what.. at the end of the quarter, there were a handful
of F's (out of 210 students).  Those students were usually failing
other classes as well.

I strongly disagree with handing out A's and B's when students DON'T
truly earn them.  School is work.... sorry, its a fact of life.  If
you don't give the effort, you don't get the grades.  That's the way
it should be.

I'm not saying I'm the perfect teacher.  Far from it.  I have plenty
to learn.  I wish I smiled more in class... I wish I could be a little
less uptight sometimes.  I wish I could take things less personally. 
There were SOOO many times that the stress and worry about parents
that hated me really brought me to the brink.  I remember weeping
uncontrollably in my principals office more than once.

Luckily, I always had support from fellow teachers and administration
who assured me that my demands on the children were far from
unreasonable or unfair.  I'm GLAD I did things the way I did (and
continue to do so).  Some students that are in high school now have
come back to visit and told me that thier science classes were easy to
them because they remember the material from my class.  This makes me
proud.



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