Q&A #5103

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Grading policy

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From: Courtney

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001021200:39:50
Subject: Grading policy for homework

I am still in college, but I will have my teaching certificate next
year in secondary math.  I am actually writing a paper right now
comparing assessment policies of US schools and those of European
schools I visited last summer.  Here is a question:  many of you are
saying that you grade homework on effort, since it is meant to be a
learning experience.  But, if homework is meant to be assigned so that
students can practice the material on their own, why count it for
points at all?  I have been thinking about this since in college, you
almost never get credit for doing homework.  I know this is because in
college you assume students are more responsible for their own
learning, and take it upon themselves to do the work when they need

But why not extend this high expectation to high school students?  If
we expect them to do what they don't understand, then students who
understand the material will not be penalized for not doing the
homework they consider "busy work," and students who do not understand
the material will either (a) do the homework or (b) not do the
homework and do poorly on the quizzes.  This would eliminate students
copying answers down in order to get credit, and it would eliminate a
lot of the grade keeping you have to do.  You could still allow a few
minutes of class time for questions, so those who did the homework and
had minor troubles could be helped briefly in class.  

You all probably think I'm some silly student with idealistic views of
teaching who will change my views when I actually start teaching, and
maybe I will.  But this strategy does work in Europe, and it does work
in college.  I think the only way to make it work in high school is to
expect it, and students will have no choice but to learn how to work
with it.

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