To grade or not to grade

That is a big question.

In the past I’ve been all over the map with this one. I’ve graded every little thing and stressed myself out over it. I’ve graded everything with some of those grades being completion grades because I felt if a student completed the assignment they should get some credit for it but then I wonder what that does to their grade, is it an accurate reflection of their work, their abilities?

I’ve thrown stacks of papers away that I would have graded simply for completion for any number of reasons including what’s the point of grading something just for completion. Then again if I would only grade it for completion is it something I should ever have given the students to complete in the first place? Is it an assignment of any value?

Sometimes we complete something together in class and those I feel okay just putting a check mark in my grade book and not a number grade to be sure that students completed it and were paying attention in class.

I’m coming to the realization that I can give assignments of quality that don’t need to be graded, that the value can come from completing it and the class discussions we have while completing them. The only problem is expressing that to the students and them still doing the work, because if it’s not for a grade many of them won’t do it no matter how much it might help them learn the skills. Ah well like all things my grading policy is a work in progress.