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8 Steps to Meaningful Grading

Page history last edited by Meghan Hanson 14 years, 1 month ago


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Link to article


Discussion questions


1.  At SSHS, what are is our "philosophy" about homework?  Is it necessary for everyone to have a similar philosophy?


2.  What is your opinion of the authors' assertions that "practice is critical for learning and improving skills" and " homework is essential for learning but should not be included in the grade?"


3.  What, do you believe, is the "true purpose of a grade?"  Does your belief correspond with the authors'?


4.  How much exposure have you had to standards-based grading?


To be continued...

Comments (4)

Meghan Hanson said

at 12:44 pm on Apr 27, 2010

1. It is hard for me to gauge what our "collective philosophy" about homework at SSHS might be... I can think of teaming with different people and my own evolution with homework but it is difficult to ascertain whether in fact there is a collective one. I do think that if we had a collective philosophy it would do many positive effects: students would know what to expect, schoolwide, in terms of why they were asked to do homework and what the purpose of homework is; it would make our jobs easier because we would communicate that similar philosophy to parents, students, etc. and teachers would not be pitted against one another in terms of "But in Mrs. So-and-So's class I hardly get ny homework!"; and, I think it would eliminate, at least to a degree, the common student perception of homework simply as "busywork."

Meghan Hanson said

at 10:08 am on Apr 29, 2010

2. Ever since I started teaching I have been uncomfortable with homework affecting the grade in any noteworthy capacity for a variety of reasons: some kids are expected to work/babysit/ranch etc. after school; some kids don't have a quiet place to do homework; some students have parents that don't ask them if they have homework; some students don't know how to get started on homework; some students misunderstand the concept and end up doing all of the homework incorrectly ("confabulation" according to Rick Wormeli). Consequently, each year I make the homework part of my grade less and less important. At the Wormeli conference, Rick Wormeli made the argument that "homework is for practice and should not be counted toward the grade." That, also supported by this article, makes a lot of sense to me. When I was at CSU doing my teacher training one of my instructors always said, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions" and that still sticks with me today. I think that the more meaningful feedback I can give on homework (which, I know, take time!) then the outcomes for students will be higher achievement in the long run.

Cindy Gay said

at 9:20 pm on May 23, 2010

1. I don't think SSHS has a common philosophy about homework; I think the philosophy is as varied as the staff members. Is it necessary to have a common homework philosophy? Now there's a loaded question! While there are many advantages to having a common philosophy (Meghan, you've done an excellent job of summarizing the advantages), I think it would take a long time to arrive at one and have it be effective. I think of the anchor philosophy as an example. Some agree and some do not. Some have internalized and analyzed the anchor philosophy against their own deeply rooted beliefs about teaching and education, some have not. The way that individual teachers interpret and apply (or not) the philosophy of anchor is all over the board. In many ways, this hurts anchor and its potential to be effective. If a homework philosophy/policy is mandated, will it align with each teacher's personal philosophy about grading? If the mandated policy aligned with my beliefs (i.e. it should not be graded), then I'd be fine with it....if the mandated policy didn't align with my beliefs (i.e. homework must be graded and will count x% of the semester grade), I would have a very hard time enforcing it and incorporating it into my practice. That being said, is a common homeowrk philosophy worth striving for and having difficult conversations around? Absolutely.

Meghan Hanson said

at 3:40 pm on May 27, 2010

I know what you mean, Cindy, about the difficulty we'd face with a mandate if it didn't align with our own personal philosophies! And I do agree that it would be a conversation worth having. Maybe more of us have similar ideas than we realize!

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