How Do You Think Students are Graded? How Should They Be?
This is a huge issue in our school and district. I grade on a standard scale--70% is a C-, 65% a D, and I if I do something that they just need to do, and they only finish 25%, it's a 25% grade, etc.
This is a HUGE issue with me as I am really sick of getting feedback from kids and parents that they "always got" passing, A grades, whatever, but I know the kid essentially can't read or write.
My grades pretty accurately reflect all unbiased testing we do. Kid who do my work tend to make big jumps in unbiased testing scores. From my experience, the really good teachers, and the ones I like to get kids from are the same.
I know some teachers just give grades, and some give 50% for missing work. I was floored today by someone telling me she did the same. Gee. NOW I get what she has such hard work, yet no complaints, because all of the kids manage to pass.
There is a LOT out there about how we should change the grading criteria and missing work getting a 0 hurts kids too much. But, I have a big problem with teaching anyone they can do nothing and get credit.
What do you think, as a student? Parent? Teacher? Anyone else?
I'm certainly willing to change the way I do things if it benefits learning, but I really don't see this. A lot of teachers are passing 95% of the kids, yet 50% of the kids are flunking out of the high school classes because they don't know how to do it.
Parent checking in: we are raising people to be in the work force. The earlier people learn that not doing work = failing, the better. Excellent quality work should be rewarded, moderately well done work should be commented on as, "Nice, but not good enough, (and in an ideal world, do over)", and poor quality work failed.
Because, one day you will have a job. If you are an excellent employee, likely you will keep your job (and be able to find another one, should something untoward happen), a moderately performing employee is always at risk, in the case of a down turn, and poor quality employees can't keep a job.
My opinion, of course. But, I'm raising my children to understand that their performance counts. Not because I care what their "grades" are, or that their "grades" will get them somewhere, but because the quality of their work matters. Everywhere, all the time.
Cop checking in: do you have any idea how many teenagers and young adults I find who are illiterate with HS diplomas? A LOT. Quite alarming. And no, not just the "dirtbag" kids either. I am an Explorer advisor, and we see kids in the 16-18 age range who want to be better, want to be in LE or the military, come with all the bonuses that research says should set them up for success (two parent homes, certain level of income, those "demographics," etc) and have no basic grasp of simple grammar rules. I'm talking periods, capitalization, the hows and whys of apostrophes, there/their/they're. This is not just text speak, this is genuine lack of knowledge. How is this not getting caught in school?
As an aside, I AM SICK OF HEARING PEOPLE BLAMING TEXTING. Sorry .
It can't just be texting. I personally blame lack of assigned reading and lax grading, the "push-em-along" mentality I see in schools. I know teachers' hands are tied to a certain extent also; I've even heard of teachers being reprimanded for not having a certain percentage of passing students... Well, if the kids CAN'T pass, whose fault is that? Look at the prior teachers, the administration, the schools, the curriculum? Where?
COTH's official mini-donk enabler
"I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl
I'm a grade 2 teacher at a private (IB) school- there is a lot of interesting and relevant research on the purpose and application of assessment in the lower grades. At other schools that I have worked at, I've been shocked at how little overlap there is in some classes between the written curriculum, the taught curriculum, and the assessed curriculum.
FWIW, we don't give percent grades or have standardized tests.
I teach ag which is a connections class in my middle school. Missing work, 0, but they have the option of making it up but after a point I stop asking for it. I explain that I really want them to learn something so am willing to take it late which will receive a lower grade but still better than a 0.
I like to use rubrics so it is clear what the expectations are on projects. Also all projects save one are completed in class. There is no reason not to do well in my class and learn a lot but there are some that are determined not to put forth the effort.
As I explained to a parent when I was on team and taught Science, I cannot modify something that does not exist when she was blaming her student's grade on ADHD. I have to have some effort.
I like to use the analogy of my light bill which they seem to understand. If I pay it on time, good, if it is late, a penalty. Do not pay it at all? In the dark.
employer checking in.... gee, the young audits (kids) applying for work... yes they continue what they learned in school...might be on time might not, if hired may come to work may not... also they are the first to attempt intervention (lawyer up) if "unfairly treated" in the their narrow point of view... read the employment hand book, oh wait..THEY CANNOT READ... so look at the pictures and No does mean NO
and by the way twitter speak in not recognized as an official language
University prof and mum of a seven year old checking in. In the classes that I teach (classical history, Latin and Greek) I am just taken aback by the lack of work ethic, issues with grading, as well as a basic lack of knowledge of the English language. When you teach Latin and 80% of the kids in the class look at you like you have two heads when you ask them to define a noun. I have had kids disappear like a nuclear submarine for 2 months then resurface and ask me to teach ten the class one on one in my office hours. When I tell them that isn't my responsibility they get angry. I am under no circumstances allowed to routinely fail my students. We have a grading policy and in the lower level courses if they only turn in 3 of 5 assignments I must base their whole grade on those, I am not allowed to penalize for work that is not turned in......
On the flip side, there are four grade two classes at my daughter's school and there is no consistency of evaluation across the classes. My daughter's class is taught by a wonderful teacher with 30 years experience and she chooses to teach following a Montessori style. Consequently there is no real formal evaluation (spelling tests, maths tests). There is lots of learning work and home work, the expectation is that the kids progress and to establish good routines which are important for young kids. Each child is different but this works very well for my daughter as she is obsessed with evaluation and this is diffusing that a bit which is good. Just my .02$ worth
I think it's more than a School issue, it's a society issue. We all need to be responsible and take responsibility for our actions, not just in school, but at home (some parents let their kids get away with murder, they're not helping the kids!) etc.
I'm with you OP.
When my younger daughter (straight A student) was in middle school, she got an F on an assignment that she postponed to the last minute and was unable to complete because she needed weather data from the last month or so.
She was devastated and it definitely taught her a lesson!
I am an educator, too, so my kids get no pity from me, lol. I do feel bad when I have to fail students, but I tell myself I am being fair to the others who do all the work assigned and do it well.
I am in the throws of raising a child with learning disorders and possible low level Aspergers. He's in second grade and struggling. Our option at this time in public school, and only public school. So we are working overtime to make it work for him.
my son's education and his ability to thrive is MY responsibility. I am the first and final advocate for my son. In a public school setting, he is struggling. I can't expect the same performance out of him as a child who's learning is in line with a normal second grader. because of how the grading system is in elementary school, my son already feels like a loser, stupid, slow, and different.
I am at a cross roads now with my son's education. without all the boring details I am ratcheting up my involvement with the school because so far they have done some things but obviously he isn't thriving. So I am taking more responsibility to keep them on task, help my son more at home and outside of school, etc...
We forget that elementary school age minds are much less developed than high school minds. The hard core grading in my opinion should not have such importance with elementary school age kids so much as the emphasis on more time spent defining each child's strengths and weaknesses and fostering those. my son's biggest learning disorder is in his reading and writing centers of him mind. Because that was missed, he muddled through kinder and first grade. Now in second, he can't produce the work even though he comprehends the verbal lessons because HE CAN'T READ AND WRITE! So his grades reflect.
my son missed out on the amount of practice (and correct practice for his mind) and now he is falling behind on tests. Tests today do not reflect what he knows, they reflect what he can't produce. but his grades are on the same scale as the kid next to him in class who was reading at four and writing well by first grade.
Remember how lead line classes are more to get the kids learning about showing, not who can win. Save the cut throat grading system for older ages and spend more time developing the techniques in the younger kids.
I gave zeros for missing work (high school) and frequently got in trouble for it. I also took off points for late work (-10 if not handed in when I collect it, even if it's at the end of class when you miraculously "found it" in your binder, -20 the next day, -30 the next, etc.), and again got in trouble because it hurt a lot of kids' grades.
At my last school, for the first three marking periods, the lowest grade a student could receive was a 50%. So a kid could do literally nothing for three marking periods and still theoretically pass. I was also told to go back to previous marking periods and put in grades for assignments handed in *months* late, in order to boost a kid's grade. Drove me insane.
I had one senior who had poor grades all last year but whose mother was very vocal. I called home frequently about missing work, but the mother complained that I didn't do follow-up calls when the work was still missing. My point of view was that she was a senior, and if I've already e-mailed mommy to say this project is due, then called mommy to say this project is still not in, then sent home a progress report with a zero where the project is, don't complain at the end of the marking period that it's my fault for not making sure the kid got the project in. But as the mother was vocal, I was forced to take projects weeks late, and the kid passed when I raised her 61% to a 65% (again, told by admin). The mother's complaints about how hard my grading was and how uncommunicative I was contributed to my losing my job.
The senior in question? Failed three of her four classes in her first semester of college, and came back to the school to complain because the school didn't prepare her for how strict college professors would be. She also asked the vice principal to call her mom and tell her that she was failing out of college.
You know there is a huge difference between my riding students that go to the charter schools and the private schools compared to my public school students. The charter school kids, and these are ones K-5 ,read very well, are ahead of the public middle school kids in almost everything and sadly some high school. If they don't do an assignment other then being sick it is a 0. That was how it was for me growing up also. The 9yr kids are expected to read books like The Hobbit for school and write well written book reports.
And you know why the big difference? Its not the teachers, its the parents the teachers deal with. These parents didn't want there kids at a school where everything is geared at the lowest student. So the teachers aren't getting yelled at to make sure everyone passes.
A friend of mine use to teach. But she got so sick of the constant phone calls, parents coming in and screaming, and the principal telling her that as long as the homework is in before the end of the semester it could count as turned in on time. And these kids got an automatic D+ just for turning it in!!! So to bring it to a C- was easy to get a passing grade. She now teaches drivers education as she got sick of being part of the problem with producing kids that graduate with the skills that use to be taught in grade school.
I mean I went to public school and in grade school we were taught and TRULY graded on basic math as in adding, subtracting, multiplying, prime numbers etc. We had to know how to brake apart sentence structure by 5 grade for English. I could go on.
It shouldn't be pass or fail. It should be you get graded on the work you do, truly graded, and if not done well enough to pass you are held back. Are kids even made to repeat grades anymore?
Speaking as a college student (graduating in May, eek!!!):
I like grading systems as long as they are fair. I was a public school kid and certainly was not illiterate when I graduated; I go to a top public university on scholarship. But with that said, my parents took it upon themselves to teach me a lot of things that were not taught in school, such as proper grammar, and helped me develop a good writing style. I've scored well on writing exams and in professional school applications, my essays have been some of my strongest points (I just had an app review with my top choice vet school and that was one of the things I was told).
I don't like grade inflation. After taking courses like organic chem, I don't have as much of an issue with curving as I used to.
Maybe I'm an anomaly, though; my dad is a law professor so I saw a lot of the behind-the-scenes work of grading and I was raised with his perspective, which is that you get the grade you earn. I'm one of those people who, if I find a math error on an exam where I ended up with too many points, will take it back to the professor and point that out. I don't want to have grades I didn't earn properly. That's just me though.
Originally Posted by Couture TB
I mean I went to public school and in grade school we were taught and TRULY graded on basic math as in adding, subtracting, multiplying, prime numbers etc. We had to know how to brake apart sentence structure by 5 grade for English.
Snicker, that is fine. I am relying on auto correct as I am on high levels of painkillers and medicine for nausea due to having extensive surgery on my ankle including bone grafts, removal of scar tissue, shaving off different sections of bone, and a metal plate to top it off. So yes my spelling and other things might be lacking in my drug hazed and pain filled body
Sorry to hear that - what painkiller are you on? I know some people have better results with hydrocodeine than with oxycodeine (I had to switch to hydro- after my shoulder surgery because I was so nauseated whenever I took oxy-). I hope you feel better soon!!
Please don't think I was snickering at you, it was just the irony.
Was on oxycodone and tramadol alternating the two every three hours, now am on vicodin alternating with the tramadol every three hours along with hydroxyzine every six hours. It keeps it well kind of almost on the tolerating point.
Sorry just a bit defensive due to pain. I do see the irony, though I say darn you auto correct lol
Though that one isn't as good as me typing that I saw the fauns from this year up near the house and my friend told me I should take less pain pills if I am seeing mythical creatures. Once again darn you auto correct. Eh still love my Nexus anyways
I really believe that the early grades are there for building confidence, social skills and good self directed work habits. There is a reason that schools in Finland are so successful at what they do. Kids don't start school there till the age of seven. I talk to the mums of the kids in the other grade two classes at my daughter's school (which is French so everything but English class is in French) and the kids are super stressed out by all the testing that the kids are getting. Spelling and Maths at least once a week. I really don't feel that this is teaching them any good habits beyond memorizing and regurgitating information. I look at the home work that my daughter brings home from her teacher and it is so much better than a test. I find that she learns so well through creative repetition and really pushes home the idea of progress not perfection that is so important in a developing child's brain. Marking is important, but maybe not quite so young.
I am neither a student (anymore) nor a teacher nor a parent. However, as a Science Fair judge for the last several years, it amazes me that some of these kids have no critical thinking skills.
One girl last year did a study on BPH in baby bottles and the effects on fruit flies. The way she got BPH into the water she fed to the flies? She used an old baby bottle from the early 80s. Surely it must have BPH in it.
When I questioned her about how she checked to be sure the water she fed the fruit flies had BPH in it, she said "well, it must". *shakes head*
What bothers me most is that throughout the science project, none of her advisors nor her parents suggested there might be a problem here.
My point is that there are problems on both sides. This girl didn't really have good critical thinking but her advisors and parents didn't HELP those skills either!
Couture TB, ask your doc for a scopolamine patch. It does wonders for nausea due to pain meds. My daughter had her second surgery just before Christmas. The first surgery they gave her a patch, the second they didn't. By the second day on pain meds, she was so naseated that she couldn't take them, even with anti-nausea meds. It was out patient surgery, so the only viable solution was the patch or the emergency room. Within 1 hour of applying the patch, the nausea was gone. The only downside (for her) was drowsiness.
Same daughter attended private school. No grade inflation...grades in lower school were Excellent, Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. Well, there was one episode of attempted grade inflation...the daughter of a major league pitcher received an unsatisfactory in ball handling skills...the mom asked the PE teacher if he could just give her a satisfactory instead. He didn't
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
~ John F. Kennedy