21 November 2013

Because Weighted Averages - Fighting Back the Points Hounds

Although we're continuing the conversation and including more teachers in standards-based grading training in my district, most all of the classes remain traditionally graded with categories for homework, formative assessments, summative assessments, and finals that were agreed upon by each high school.

It seems like most every class I grade on our traditional grading scale, I'll have kids who start to get homework bugs by November. "I'm doing all of my homework - how come I'm still failing?" is what they'll ask me. No matter the number of times I tell them that those 2 missing homework assignments are not the reason they don't have the grade they want, they insist that "every little bit will still help." While that is technically a true statement, it misses the point. Although we've devalued homework to 10% of our averages to stress assessments and projects in grade calculation (to stress evidence of learning), as long as we have a category that includes homework, the point hounds will be scrounging at the table for their point scraps.

Here's what I conclude:
As long as I include homework in the calculation of grades, I will always fight the students and parents that want to squeak out every homework point "just in case."

It takes persistence and perseverance through the first several weeks as students adjust, but I always feel most successful evaluating my students' learning the more I stress mastery, and I devalue points through standards-based grading.

In the meantime, I created this video to as a resource to my students who want to set goals and track their weighted averages.

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Thanks for sharing!