Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thoughts on grading

Does grading make anyone else cranky?

Because interims just went out yesterday, this frustration is still fresh on my mind.

Giving paper/pencil quizzes is a really easy way to get a grade, but a few of my kids are
a) space cadets and b) terrible writers, so those assessments end up being inaccurate pictures of what they really know. However, the EOGs are formal assessments, so paper/pencil quizzes are a good picture of how they'll do on the EOGs.

Projects and other formative assessments are helpful for students with different skill sets, but I find it really subjective as to whether or not they students have nailed down the important concepts.

Our school uses Activexpressions and an interactive whiteboard to "text" in answers to assessments, which I love, because it's really black and white. Because these questions are given one at a time to the whole class, and the entire class must answer at the same time, you know the kid that takes 28.6 minutes to answer a multiple choice question just doesn't know the answer. Also, the program grades the questions for you, so there's no stack of papers or answer key.

Our grade uses all three of these forms of assessment to get a picture of how a student is doing. My frustration comes when there's a kid that you KNOW knows it, and is lazy as molasses for 9 weeks, and his mom is furious when he doesn't make a level 4. OK, I'm exaggerating, but those "on the border" kids stress me out. It's the inconsistency that makes me nervous. Maybe they have it for the interim, but by the time the report card comes out, they've lost it.

Any thoughts on this?

1 comment:

Amanda Septien said...

This is a great post Dom. I don't work with kids in a classroom per say (I work with 4 home schooled children) but my step-brother Zach was the same way when he was at Leesville Elem. He was a smart kid, but would lie to my mom when he said he did his homework. My mother wanted to instill responsibility on his part that if he didn't do it - he'd pay the consequences in school (some of the time, not all).

When report cards/interims went out, he did horrible and it wasn't until the last quarter that he had to really crunch down and he made 'average' grades. A lot of Zach's problems stemmed from things going on at home. I know this won't be the scenario for ALL kids, but how much sleep they get, environment and moods in their home life and silly to say, the friendships they have all factor in. Frustrating part is all those things you as a teacher can't do anything about.

I know this doesn't necessarily "help" but I know that Zach went through those same things, that he did horrible, although he had the capability to do his work at a given time.

Kids - what are ya gonna do with them? :)

ps - my word verification that I'm about to type in is "risen". Just trust God that he'll provide for each and every child that you deal with :)