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My grading philosophy has changed drastically over the years. When I first started teaching, I created courses that were geared to students like myself–overachiever would do anything to get an “A.” (Don’t worry, as my grading philosophy for my students changed, my expectations for myself and my mindset of learning changed as well). While you may have some students that fit into that category, most of your students do not. Your job is not to simply hand out marks for assignments–you are there to help students learn. And quite frankly, grades don’t matter in the grading scheme of things. This episode isn’t about what grading philosophy you should adopt, but rather ways to simplify your grading practices by seeing if you are making these common mistakes and learning how to prevent these grading mistakes.
In this episode, Khristen discusses how to avoid:
- Grading Everything
- Not Aligning Grades to a Standard
- Saving Grading for the End of the Day
- Having your LMS Automate Grading
- Expecting that Students will Re-Submit Work
- Grade-Dependent Projects
- Having Late-Work Policies
Let’s face it, grading takes time. It takes time away from planning, preparing, assessing, and sometimes even our family. I’m giving you permission like my mentor teacher gave me to not grade everything. Pick and choose which assignments get “marks” and feedback and which ones you can use to formatively give you feedback on how your students are doing.
Not Aligning Grades to a Standard
Next, I bet we’ve all been asked at one time or another to do something that just felt like busywork. Well, if your assignment/project/assessment isn’t aligned to a standard, then it truly is busy work. We know it has no purpose and our students know too. To avoid this, make sure that all of your assignments relate to one of your essential standards. To read more about determining your essential standards, see this previous post/episode. You can also download this free workbook for determining your essential standards here.
Saving Grading for the End of the Day
You can save a significant amount of time if you can grade during class. I’m not saying that you sit at your computer/desk and grade previously turned in work. What I am saying is that you can use your time better by grading as you circulate the room while students are independently working. This can be done on a clipboard/iPad/or some other grading sheet.
Having Your LMS Automate Grading
Learning Management Systems are great–especially with virtual learning, but one of the downsides is that if we rely too heavily on the automated grading features, we may stop paying attention to the learning that is happening or not happening in our classes. We may not realize that we need to re-teach a concept before moving on, but instead, just move ahead.
Expecting that Students will Re-Submit Work
If a student is unsatisfied with his/her first “mark” on an assignment, they rarely have the motivation to re-do the assignment. Instead, give feedback along the way and only accept completed work that will get the student the desired “grade.”
Oh, the dreaded end-of-term project that will make or break a grade. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great summative project that incorporates the demonstration of proficiency of several different standards, but the way it can be graded is discouraging to students. Consider breaking down the project into smaller due dates, so that students are getting points and feedback along the way.
Having Late-Work Policies
It’s already been discussed that grading can take up a lot of our time, so why then do we feel the need to overcomplicate things by having some formulaic late-work policy that requires us even more work? Remember, that the key here is to work smarter, not harder.
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FREE WORKBOOK FOR DETERMINING YOUR ESSENTIAL STANDARDS: http://khristenmassic.com/standards
PREVIOUS EPISODE SHOW NOTES: http://khristenmassic.com/episode1/