I have been reading a lot in the blog world and there has been a lot of discussion about grading. The big debate seems to be since we have to give students a grade, what should that grade represent? Just like in any debate, there are two major parties -- SBG and I'm not sure what to name the second (traditional? I think that almost has a negative connotation).
I am very interested in trying SBG, but as a first year teacher I am taking one hurdle at a time... I also feel as a middle school teacher it is my job to help model and guide students to become responsible and organized. These are life skills that they need -- I think everybody agrees on that. How much should responsibility and organization play a role on a student's grade?
There a couple of internal conflicts I am having with the school I am teaching at now.
The first conflict I will call the "parent syndrome." As a homeroom teacher I am required to check students' agenda books, binders, and lockers weekly. It makes me feel like their mom! I see some value in it, but it seems like my school has taken it to the extreme. I will note that as mundane as the locker checks can be on a weekly basis, the real purpose is preventative -- we need to make sure that students don't have food/trash in their lockers, because we have lots of critters that will make a locker their home.
The second conflict is the restriction on grading. It is district policy that my grading scale is 10% homework, 40% classwork, and 50% assessments. This allows students to pass on effort alone by completing all homework and classwork (ideally receiving an A in those categories) and failing every test. The grading system is set up to value responsibility, organization, and effort, but where is the value of mastering the content?
Angle of Elevation and Depression
13 hours ago