Q&A #5103

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Grading policy

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From: Tanis

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001032212:02:46
Subject: Grading homework

I teach high school algegra and geometry. I have taught in schools in Saskatchewan, and in North Carolina. Students not completed work is a perennial problem, and I have tried various strategies. I feel I have found the best solution for myself and the students. I assign a minimal amount of homework, provided the class works well on a regular basis. I help them with as much of the assignment as class time allows, but I make sure I am getting them to explain the process. Never do I just do the question for them. Someone in the class has to help. When assignments are due to be handed in, I take a minute to let them ask any questions. I will lead them to some of the answers, and then they get a minute to complete the work. Those who have not started, do not do very well, in spite of their attempts to "copy". They learn pretty quickly that the effort must be made to do the work. When I return the homework (which I assign about once each week), we correct it in class, and those who failed the assignment get an opportunity to correct their errors. If they hand it in again at the end of the correcting time, I will regrade it for a D. If they choose not to hand it in again, their failing grade stands. It is very easy to explain to parents why they are failing, if that is the choice they make, by the way. Those who were incomplete in the first place even get an opportunity to finish, but usually run out of time. They learn their lesson pretty quickly! In my class, homework and notebooks are 60 percent of the grade, tests and quizzes are 40 percent (I find most students do not do well on tests) and journals and reviews are worth 10 percent. Sometimes I reverse the 60-40 if students write exams well. I get very few complaints from students about homework, and I find that most do it. Parent conferences are very quick and painless for all parties. My system is more than fair; and easy for me to keep up with. Regarding late assignments: Yes, I accept late work. My motto is: Better late than never! Marks are reduced for late work, and they do not get the opportunity to redo the work if it is late. Teachers, ease up on the homework. Yes, it is valuable, but we all have lives away from school. If you assign it, be prepared to correct it, and account for it.

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