Sunday, October 04, 2009

Inconsistent Grading

Math teachers have it easier than some--our grades are much more objective than are the grades of, for example, English teachers, where so much more subjectivity occurs when grading essays and the like. The more subjectivity, though, the more variation:

Douglas Reeves, an expert on grading systems, conducted an experiment with more than 10,000 educators that he says proves just how subjective grades can be.

Reeves asked teachers and administrators in the United States, Australia, Canada and South America to determine a final semester grade for a student who received the following grades for assignments, in this order:

C, C, MA (Missing Assignment), D, C, B, MA, MA, B, A.

The educators gave the student final semester grades from A to F, Reeves said.

I was agreeing with this article until the very end:

The first step toward change, Reeves said, is eliminating "dumb errors."

Giving kids no credit for not turning in work or flunking them in some other way defeats the purpose, he said. A better result would be to force them to do the work, before school, during recess or after school.

I have well over 150 students. I honestly don't see why I should get to school early, stay after school, and give up lunch each day because my students failed to live up to their responsibilities. Throw in legal hurdles (like bus riders and required lunch minutes) and his solution is unworkable. I'm open to solutions that work, but this is not one of them.


Elaine C. said...

To a certain degree, I agree with you. Yes, it IS their responsibility to get it done. But it's also our responsibility to teach them, not just wave the info in their face, and let them sink or swim.

So I try to walk between both lines... I schedule time almost every day as is convenient for *me*, and anyone who is missing homework when I check is required to come to the next scheduled time. If the work is completed by then, they show/hand in the work, and then they may leave. If it's not, they work on it until it's done.

If they don't come? I call home, and write a school-detention, and wash my hands. At that point, I've done what I can. I cannot FORCE them to learn... and truly, I can't do more than pressure them to get their work done. The more pressure I apply, generally, the lower the quality of work also.

(I also found that if I start OUT with the 'no homework = lunch until it's done' policy, by the end of the first month, I have 95% homework completion, and my lunches are usually free again. The other 5% are my hard cases anyway. :P)

maxutils said...

That averages out to 1.7 . . .
I'm going D+. Could be a C-, but the missing work would knock them down. Assuming equal weight to the assignments, of course.

Anonymous said...

the schools where i teach implemented a no zero policy-which means that you can't not turn something in. they tried lunch detention (rotating teachers in charge), but ended up with ENTIRE grade levels in detention. then, they began taking kids who had a zero in any class out of their electives classes until it was done. the result, they failed their electives too. in life, no one is going to MAKE them turn something in, but they will fire them (ie fail them) for not doing the work that is expected. aren't we supposed to be getting kids ready to live in the real world?