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?
3 days ago