Monday, January 16, 2006

Something Good

I was a bit apprehensive about weighting my grades and setting up new categories halfway through the year, but I'm beginning to gain some footing. I set up my categories as follows:
Critical Writing (30%)
Critical Reading (30%)
Listening and Speaking (20%)
Work Habits (10%)
Vocabulary and Grammar (10%)
As I'm starting to enter grades, these categories align with my goals much better than my former ones did, and they remind me of the larger importance of each of my assignments. I don't know if my students really understand this system yet (I tried to explain it on the first day, but I got the feeling that those who nodded in agreement did so only because they knew that was what I wanted them to do). I'm also discovering that far too many of my assignments, especially for my regular English 10 class, fall under the "Work Habits" category, and too few fall under "Critical Reading." Interestingly, when I asked my classes on the first day of class this year to write down their expectations of me, of the class, and of themselves, the majority of them wished to work more on improving their critical reading skills. Nobody wanted to work on getting their books covered faster. Fascinating. My big question right now is how to keep track of assignments that come in late. I know that our gradebook can mark assignments late, but I'm wondering how exactly I factor this in on a regular basis.
I would also like to note that posting assignments on the web still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but the weighted system is perhaps the lesser of two evils.


Blogger Karl Fisch said...

Interesting. I do think that an important secondary benefit (primary being better feedback for students) of changing our grading categories is to help us remember that the individual assignments in the end are meaningless (despite all the time we spend crafting them) - it's the "larger importance" that we need to refocus on.

And I think other teachers who make this transition will also find cases where too many of their assignments fall into the "work habits/reponsibility" type category and not into the categories that we truly value most (not that work habits/reponsibility isn't important, but you know what I mean).

What has been your policy in the past on late assignments? If you want to keep the same basic policy, then we just need to figure out the best way to reflect that in your grading system (somehow in work habits category I would think).

3:43 PM  
Blogger annes said...

Another area I am strggling with here is the work habits as well. Especially with my honors class it jsut seems silly to grade them on completing the web for the paper. I mean, if they don;t do it their paper ideas won't be organized but what if they aren't web outline kind of people. I believe they need the structure for their writing but what if I am forcing them to write my way and not the way that they might best express themselves. AGHAGAHGAHA!!!!

1:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home