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Showing posts from June, 2017

Going "Grade Less": Bumps in the Road

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This summer I am experimenting with reflective grading practices in my World History summer school class. It felt necessary to find a new approach to grading after months of reading and research and countless moments in my classroom where traditional grading systems just weren't cutting it. I was fed up with "how many points is this worth?" or "how many points do I need on this to just pass the class?" Many students weren't trying to learn, they often weren't trying to improve or achieve an academic goal, they were playing a game of points.

My first week of reflective grading still feels like a monumental success, students understand the process, students are listening to feedback and trying again on their work, and most students when asked how the process was going for them responded positively.

But a few students raised some excellent concerns in the first week that I'd like to share.

1) The 4 point rubric and the traditional online grade book my d…

Going "Grade Less": Thoughts on Reflective Grading Week 1

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I am one week into teaching a four-week long summer school course that I am grading using only students reflections on the learning objectives and right now my mind is racing. I started writing about why I decided to go "grade-less" last week and in five short days of summer school World History, I have a lot of thoughts and emotions to sort through. Everything is kind of messy, but the good kind, the kind that feels like progress. Here is a brief update on a few of my thoughts so far.

1) OMG I love Station Rotation Dear Catlin Tucker, Thank you. Your blogs and tweets about Station Rotation in secondary school inspired me to try it and I get it now. It is the best way to find time to meet with students, to host interventions, to differentiate instruction, and to keep students engaged by keeping class moving with a variety of activities and assignments. This model of teaching allowed me to meet with students one-on-one in a way that was effective and meaningful. 
2) Learning Ob…

Summer Experiment: Going "Grade-Less"

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It's Friday morning of my first week of summer and I am getting things together to take back to campus because I start summer school on Monday. I love summer school. Four short weeks of accelerated teaching, a crash course of content with students who all have a reason to be there, summer school is full of this energy and drive you don't get in the normal year. I also love summer because it is the perfect place to try something new.

This summer, I am changing my grading practices. I am changing my grading practices because I am frustrated by how often students copy and cheat, I am frustrated by how defeated students become from a zero, I am frustrated by the question "how many points do I need on this assignment to...?", I am frustrated that compliance is more important than learning, I am frustrated that the traditional system offers little room for growth mindset, I am frustrated that my traditional grading practices don't focus on learning at all.

So, I read …