Repair Kit Study Guide: grade book organization and missing work

After two posts of two questions each I think today we’re going to squeeze in three OO-OO-OO wow! LOL sorry not sure what got into me there.

5) I organize information in my record/mark/grading book by source: homework, quizzes, tests, labs etc.

My answer here is almost always.  I did this so that I could look for trends in the grades things such as do students do well on homework but not tests (here comes my big issue: test anxiety can be major issue for some kids as many teachers and parents know).  Maybe students do well on in-class work but not homework or vice versa, is work even being completed?  All of these are important things to know.

However I do NOT EVER weight grades.  My grades have always been calculated from points earned out of total points possible.  I want my students to relax as much as possible on tests.  When test scores are the major component of final grades even students who are normally good test takers get very nervous and second guess themselves more, I was one of those students.  I tell my classes that the tests are to show me what they have learned and what they have retained, tests should not tank their overall grade.  The lower I can get their anxiety level the more accurate the test scores, then I can combine that with the homework scores to come up with an accurate assessment of their knowledge level.


6) I include in final grades zeroes for missing work.

I answered sometimes and by the way I added the word final to the sentence above to make it make more sense to me.

Yes I used to frequently count zeroes for missing work though I did attempt to contact parents/guardians with  notes sent home, e-mails, or phone calls to express concern about missing assignments.  However as I mentioned in #2 that came mostly to an end my last year in my last classroom position due to our Intervention time.  


7) I communicate feedback on assessments, by providing a single letter grade.

I’m not exactly sure what they mean here, I’m guessing it means that tests handed back to students simply have a letter grade/percentage on them but no other feedback.  Ok now that I’ve said it that way I feel dumb that I was ever confused, ah well such is life.

I actually don’t always put a letter grade on tests I hand back.  I do always include percent and total points earned out of total points possible, so I went with sometimes as my answer on this one.  Not only do I put total score on the test I put scores next to each individual question or section.  When it comes to constructed response (one to two sentence answers) and performance events (essays in many classes, large multi-step problems in math that also sometimes require written answers) I try to provide more feedback: additional questions to prompt for more information, comments, highlighting good things, suggestions for improvement.  I also make it a habit to go through the assessment as a class to answer any questions students may have, show quality answers, and make corrections when (yes, when not if) I make mistakes.  When grading hundreds of assessments in a year mistakes will be made, and when I do make a mistake I give the student credit for that question.  I have had teachers myself and met some through the years for whom the test grade is final if they made a mistake while grading that lowers a student’s score they don’t change it.  Conversely if I make a mistake and fail to mark a question wrong and the student points that out to me I don’t change the grade, it was my mistake and if the student was responsible enough to tell me about it I let them keep the points.  Somehow I don’t think the author of this book would approve of that and I’m not sure I’d change that policy.  I suppose it might be a matter of how many points it was and did it truly make a difference in the final grade, often one or two points really don’t.

Well so far I’ve gotten through seven and a half pages of the seventeen pages of notes I took on appendix C.  It should come as no surprise that I have a lot to say, I’m a pretty talkative person after all and when it’s a topic I’m passionate about I have even more to say.  Now question time: what are your thoughts on these questions as parents, teachers, or students?



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