Thursday, October 09, 2008

Quantifying a Heart

For the second year in a row, I'm asking all of my students to develop a personal philosophy to guide their own learning this semester. They're using wikispaces to organize their ideas, to make connections to texts and to the rest of the outside world, and most importantly, to complicate their perceptions.

So here's the problem: I have no idea how to grade them. I've tried several different rubrics, and none of them have done justice to this personal project. Part of the issue is that the guidelines are loose; I give my students a basic outline, suggestions, and examples, but the rest is really up to them because I want their wikispaces to be unique, not formulaic. I don't want to "ruin" this project for them by giving them a long checklist of requirements, and I think they appreciate that. But when it comes down to making a rubric and to offering meaningful feedback, I struggle. I've tried making a list of what I'd like them to get out of this project and what they would like to get out of this project, but it always feels artificial to assign a point value to something that comes from their hearts.



Blogger Lena R 2012 said...

Mrs. Laclaire,
I think that you could get the whole class together and create a rubric together. Like, list qualities that are an A, B, or C. Then have them storm up ideas on how they could get an A.

1:34 PM  
Blogger FinlayB2012 said...

I am a student in Ms. Smith's English 9 class. I think that you should let the class create a rubric together. Then everyone will know the rubric and understand it.

1:34 PM  
Blogger alexw2012 said...

Mrs. Leclaire, you should definitly ask your class to make a rubric for themselves. They don't neccesarily need to assign points to their rubric but you should let them do what they think they can. Good Luck!

1:34 PM  
Blogger EthanR2012 said...

You're the com.

1:34 PM  
Blogger colleenO2011 said...

Dear Mrs.Leclaire,
My suggestion is to tell them how you feel and that you want them to think out of the box and give them more ideas

1:34 PM  
Blogger calebw2012 said...

I think you should create a no D system. It is a system were none of the students can get D's. The students can get C's and above or F's. My english class did this and it was very helpful. Good luck.

1:35 PM  
Blogger NateL2012 said...

Mrs. Leclaire- I think that your students should have a say in the grading rubric this year because this is the way that their assignments are going to get graded so i think that you and your classes one day in class should go over what you and your class think is 'A' quality work, 'B' quality work, and 'C' quality work and then for every assignment they turn in you grade by, their rubric, and what they think is fair.

1:36 PM  
Blogger MitchellB2012 said...

I think that you should develop the rubric as a class. Instead of you giving all the guidelines to your students, lead a discussion with the class; ask them what they think "A" quality work looks like, and use that rubric to grade their assignment. They should also decide what B, C, and F quality work looks like. So when you grade there assignment they can look at the rubric and know what grade they got.
-Mitchell Boh
Smith 9

1:37 PM  
Blogger BRETTG2012 said...

Dear Mrs. Leclaire,
I like the idea of thr project that you are doing. I am in Ms. Smiths 6th block english class and we made our own rubric. For instance at the begining of the year our class brain stormed a rubric that outlined what we thought was A,B,C,and F quality work. That might work because then the students get to put together their own grading sheet.

1:38 PM  
Blogger tannerc2012 said...

Mrs.Leclaire, I am Tanner a student of Mrs.Smith and I think you should ask your class about the rubric. You should make a list of (a),b,c,d, and f quality work. That way you know how to grade it and everyone would agree and be happy with their grades.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Chaseo2012 said...

Mrs. Leclaire, I think that the way you could deal with the rubric problem is to have the class define what requirements they want to get an A,B, or C. By doing this, you could let the class choose what they want and more stress is taken off of you. This system has worked well for Ms. Smith's class. I hope it works well for you. Oh, and Ms. Smith says you da!

1:38 PM  
Blogger ElizabethE2012 said...

I do have a few suggestions for you or ideas. In Ms. Smith's 6th block English we have a no "D" policy and we have a rubric that we make and we get to put the ideas of what A, B, and C quality work is. And we also get this cool thing called redos until we do A, B or C work.

1:39 PM  
Blogger mollyb2012 said...

Dear Mrs. Leclaire,
I understand where you are coming from. It’s hard for me as a student to reflect something personal with so many guidelines, but I feel lost about the subject if there are not any guidelines. I think a good idea to grade these papers is to grade the grammar and typos. I think that only errors in writing should be deducted from the score.

1:39 PM  
Blogger AaronS2012 said...

One thing that you might consider is something that Mrs. Smith does for us, is that she does not give us D’s on our assignments. This way we can’t slack off, we can only fail or give passable or good quality work. Another thing that you could do is to let your class come up with a rubric and clarify what is an A, B, C, and F quality. These are some ideas that you could use. Hope this helps!

1:39 PM  
Blogger EthanR2012 said...

I think you should do a no "D" policy. It basically means your students can get an A B C or F. It has been extremely helpful in Ms. Smith's class.

1:40 PM  
Blogger ruthl2012 said...

So far I have a decent grade in Ms.Smiths class. The things that get me a good grade in her class, are The A, B, C rubric witch is a list of things that will help you get the grade that your student wants. Also if you don’t allow D’s in the grade book then your student will work hard for a better grade.

1:40 PM  
Blogger EmilyK2012 said...

Mrs. Leclaire
To help create a rubric for this personal assignment you could use some of the ideas we have used in our class. Try creating the rubrics with your class. That way they know what is A quality work,B quality work and so on. When we did this as a class it really helped me because not only did i know what was expected but because i helped create the expectations they were things that i personally set for myself to achieve. Also having them asses their own writing may help. I hope that my comments helped.

1:40 PM  
Blogger NickK2012 said...

Mrs. Leclaire, I think that Ms. Smiths “No D” rubric was amazing. It helped me think about what I was writing, and it made me think about what I was going to write before wrote it down. If I decided that I would write it really fast before class, because I didn’t do it for homework, you can always tell that its not good work. So if it’s not good work, make them re-do it until it is “A” quality work. Ms. Smith had us as a class, figure out what “A” quality work was, “B” quality work is, and last she had us figure out what “C” quality is. D’s and F’s are not acceptable. This has helped my writing skills immensely, and now I’m not dreading coming to English class every day, like I was before I was in this class.

1:41 PM  
Blogger OliviaB2012 said...

Ms. Leclaire,
I think that you should talk to each of your students individually and see what they think they have earned, and then you should negotiate a grade.

1:41 PM  
Blogger breannas2012 said...

I think a really good way to make a rubric is to sit down with your whole class and come up with it together. As in what is A, B, and C quality work. This really helped me in Mrs. Smith's class because I knew how she would be grading it, and we as a class chose how she would grade it. I thought that it was very fair. Also I love Mrs. Smith’s no “D’s” policy. It makes me push harder for better, or I could just get an “F” and that won’t fly with my parents at all. A “D” can slip pass but not an “F”; therefore it makes me try harder.
~breanna s.

1:42 PM  
Blogger MaureenI70464 said...

Mrs. Leclaire - We have read your blog and are here for some help! Ms. Smith at the beginning of the year our class put together our very own rubric. As a class we decided what kind of work an A, B, and C paper, we had to set the standards for ourselves. By doing this we know exactly what category our paper is going rank in even before turning it in. This makes it very helpful to go back and read what we have written and make changes to our paper to potentially change our grade before it is a bad one. This has personally helped me a lot. The no D policy is also nice because you should either try a good amount, or show you put a good amount of effort forward, and if you’re not going to even work for something for try, you should really just get an F.
Maureen I

1:43 PM  
Blogger briannab2012 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:43 PM  
Blogger paiges2012 said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
I recently read your latest blog entry, “Quantifying a Heart”, in Ms. Smith’s English 9 class. At the beginning of the year, our class developed our own rubric that we were going to go by the whole semester. We created a list for “A” quality work, “B” quality work, and “C” quality work. We printed off the rubric, and everyone of us signed it, showing that we all agreed to the rubric, and thought it was fair. Then we decided that we weren’t going to get “D’s” in our class. We can only get an A, B, C, or F. I think that this motivates people to work harder to not get an F. It makes people want to do better rather than worse. This is what we do in our class, and I think that it helps people a lot, and we have much better grades in our class than we would if we had the option of a “D”.
You could also use the idea of having your students write a letter to you, telling you what an “A” is to them. Then you could talk to each student about their letter, and see if the “A” quality work to them is reasonable and fair.

1:43 PM  
Blogger jakeL2012 said...

Dear Mrs. Leclaire, I believe that your rubric should have the kids decide what they need to do to be successful on this project. When they decide what a work they will be able to achieve that a. But, they need to decide that for themselves.

1:43 PM  
Blogger briannab2012 said...

Hey Mrs. Leclaire,
After reading your blog our class decided to try to help you. We went over what you were having problems with and we decided that some helpful things that we have done in our class is we made a class rubric on what we think should happen this semester. Another thing is that we said that there would be no “D” grades. There would only be A, B, C, and F grades.

1:45 PM  
Blogger reagang2012 said...

Mrs. Leclaire,

Although I have not been in your situation I understand that it is hard to know how to grade people on things that are coming from the heart. Here is a helpful tip is that you can ask them as a class about A,B,C quality work and see how they would grade themselves and it may make It easier to grade them on things that they know their being grading on. Also one other suggestion is not letting people get a “D” just go from a “C” to an “F” and it will tell them that they have a better chance to get a good grade and it will make them do a lot better. I hope that this advice will help you grade your students.

P.S: Ms. Smith thinks you are bomb!!!

1:48 PM  
Blogger mitchell2012 said...

Dear Mrs. Leclaire,
I think that it would so much more helpful if the students made their own rubric. Then your students could make their projects the best they possibly could. Also I believe that you should tell your students there are no “D” possible they do either a great job and get and “A,” good and they get a “B,” average and he or she get s a “C,” last you could do very poor and get an F but it is not possible to get a “D”.

Mitchel L

1:53 PM  
Blogger Angel L 2012 said...

Dear Mrs. Leclaire,

I believe that it would be helpful to make a rubric with the entire class, and have them write down what they think is “A”,”B”, and ”C” quality work. I my class we are not allowed to get any “D”s at all, this is very helpful to everyone because we know whether we did good or bad work (and nothing in between), helps us do the best that we can. Making a rubric is a super helpful thing to do for all of us, and I sure will be a big help to you and your students.

Angel L.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Leclaire,
As a part of your English class, I am absolutely loving this personal philosophy assignment. I think that whether we as students truly believe in our personal philosophy statements should definitely be part of the grade, connections to society, connections to text, and reasons for our philosophy. Though this would take time, you could conference with each of us students and just have us talk about our personal philosophy and examples we find in the texts and in the world. Then you could look at the wikispaces and look for the aspects we talked about. Or you could not do the conference. But I definitely think that you cannot have a strict rubric, it will have to be one with more freedom. I hope this helps. Thank you for taking so much time for this assignment, I think it is really cool and will help us go deeper into our texts.

1:55 PM  
Blogger joeyo2012 said...

Dear Mrs. Leclaire
They should have had a perment rubric for all the different projects and essay for schools so there wouldn’t be any reason to have to make a rubric. Or if the class decides on a rubric that they can all use to get a good grade for the project. It would just be easier on everyone in the class if they did.

Sincerely Joey o

1:56 PM  
Blogger AllisonS said...

Mrs. Leclaire,

I think that you should grade us based on if we made enough pages with enough infromation and if we made the project our own. I think grading should have more of a completion/creative focus.


3:14 PM  
Blogger Dennis K said...

Hi Mrs. Leclaire,
I agree that it feels a little artificial to write on or include a set list of requirements in a project like this. But, there will need to be grading somehow- and equally. Each individual will have a unique project and grading them all the same way isn't feasible unless you've got some criteria. It does feel a little artificial when you try to incorporate a bunch of unrelated or challenging things into a paper, but on the contrary, you can't always manipulate life. Sometimes you'll have to be stuck with an assignment that isn't your favorite. A list of criteria may be encumbering to some, but it's the only way to asses all of our projects equally.

3:25 PM  
Blogger amyw said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
Like whitneys, I love this assignment. It's very inventive to do it on wikispaces rather than, say, writing an essay and turning it in. I also think that it's great to know where you stand and what you believe, and this assignment helps us share our most deeply held beliefs with the world!
I personally think that the grading should be based on passion and completion. For example, if you read our letters and it's obvious that we put effort into it and weren't just going through the motions of an assignment, and if the rest of the wiki is this way as well, then we would get a higher grade. If it's obvious that it didn't come from the heart and there wasn't much effort, then we would get a lower grade. Quality would be a factor too. So there wouldn't really be a rubric. And another thing I agree with whitneys on is that if you were confused or needed clarification on our philosophy or something we wrote, then you could have us come in for a conference to explain it a bit more clearly. Sometimes the passion doesn't come through in the assignment, but if the student was asked to explain their thinking, then the passion would be evident and this would help their grade.
Hope this helps! :)

3:33 PM  
Blogger chelseas said...

Mrs. Leclaire,

I definitely agree with Amy and Whitney about this assignment. I think that it is important to let our creativity shine through, but that there also need to be some boundaries. Also, like Dennis said, there needs to be consistency, so some guidelines would be a good idea. I think that there should definitely be a conference because sometimes what the student feels and understands, the teacher won't. This will clear up any miscomminications and such and help get our points across. I really like conferences so that I can be sure that my point truly got across to the intended audience. We did this last year with the AWNM project, and I think that it turned out really well. I think that we as a class need to come up with some guidelines, and/or criteria that needs to be in there someplace, but that we can elaborate on those guidelines more. This way everyone would have the basic structure, and they could build from that.

These are just a few ideas, and I hope that they help you!!!

4:07 PM  
Blogger lesliel said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
I would go about this by looking at how unique each wikispace is as well as how personal it is. By looking at that you can kind of see how much effort a person has put in. If you grade a wikispace that looks as if the person didn't put much into it and didn't show that they cared, perhaps you should talk to them in a conference and show them other ways they can spice it up to redo their grade. I think what you have been doing in class by asking students if they need help is a good step to avoiding this situation. I think that you should grade the wikispaces by analyzing how personal they are to the maker, and it could be personal in different ways such as effort, personal stories, and unique ideas... if that makes sense.

4:52 PM  
Blogger marissas said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
I understand why you are having trouble with how to grade these wikispaces. If I were you I would give each student a grade based on their creativity and how personal you think they made this project. Then, I would have personal conferences with each student to look at their site together and negotiate a grade. I would definitely not assign any sort of rubric to this project.

5:11 PM  
Blogger hannahl said...

Last year when we did wikified research papers for Mrs. Smith, we conferenced with her personally and decided what grade we could both agree on. I think it would be highly beneficial for each person to meet with you individually, and work together to come up with a deserved grade. It is a concept that will help every person reach their personal potential, rather than the potential of a rubric, or even a class-made rubric!

5:56 PM  
Blogger roser said...

Mrs. LeClaire,
I get where you are coming from about this assignment and the grading of it. I think we should just toss the idea of a rubric, and have a "wiki-fair", or something that enables everybody to share their work with everyone. I find it hard to think of how you would be able to grade it based upon passion, but effort could be a key component.

6:55 PM  
Blogger morgant said...

Mrs. Leclaire,

I definitely agree with Leslie! I think there should be some sort of guidelines, but I think mainly that the grade should be based on how much effort was put in, and maybe how creative it was. It definitely depends on the person, and some philosophy statements can't be connected to as many things as others can. I think maybe that should be taken into consideration. I also think that maybe the class making a rubric is also a good idea, that way we can all contribute and such. Hope this helped!

7:45 PM  
Blogger lizc said...

Conferences sound like a great idea to me! None of this A,B,C or F nonsense. Sorry freshman, but that doesn't really help for what we are doing. Anyways, I like the ideas about quality that a circling around. I also think that it would be good to grade if it has been completed or not. Ms. Lecliare, I greatly appreciate the fact that you are not giving us a solid rubric. I think that it would be okay if you gave us general guidelines, like things that you would like us to include. However, it is our philosophy so you can't really tell us that we are wrong. I can see how you are split on this. It is honors after all so maybe you don't even need to grade us. I think that each of us are looking forward to what we come up with us and most of us will willingly do it. A completion grade would probably work best and a conference for us to explain our thinking.

8:34 PM  
Blogger alexf said...

Mrs. Leclaire~
Wow, this does sound tough to grade. After reading some of the comments above, I think that it would help to create a “rubric” type paper together in class so that we at least have some guidelines but are not bogged down with requirements. Also, I think after creating this rubric type paper, we could have personal conferences so that we can explain to you what we were thinking and what our feelings were while creating the wiki-space. Also, it could help to clarify confusions. I know that it would probably take a while, but we did it last year in Ms. Smith’s class and I think that it turned out pretty well. Other than that, I’m not really sure what else you can do!

9:24 PM  
Blogger Oliviak said...

I feel that you should give us a grade, and also we should grade ourselves. Because like you said it is hard to really grade something that is supposed to come from the heart. If we grade ourselves then you can tell how we feel we did in writing something from the heart. I’m not sure on what we would be grading ourselves on. Maybe looking for content and how deep our connections are to our philosophy and what we read.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Karl Fisch said...

Begin with the end in mind. What’s the purpose of this project? What’s your goal?

From what you’ve written the purpose appears to be to “guide their own learning this semester.” If that’s accurate, then shouldn’t your assessment assess how well their wiki does that? And shouldn’t your feedback help them do a better job of successfully guiding their own learning?

Follow your heart.

7:00 PM  
Blogger KiraW said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
This is a very hard thing to grade as our own personal opinions can be an most often times are as different as our finger prints. Reading over some of these posts, I would have to agree that it would be a good idea to have personal conferances. I do know some people that have to have a rubric in front of them or they are lost, but I think that you give us one guiding question that we are trying to answer mainly, then we could have something to go for more smoothly. Possibly we could do peer conferances too. Not for the final grade, but to just check and see if we are making the thoughts that are in our head clear.

8:04 PM  
Blogger josed said...

Mrs. Leclaire, I really can't think of anything that's terribly easy for you to grade or anything that's not terribly stressing for us. I liked the idea of having a conference with us to see what grade we think we should get. But I still don't think that helps if we don't know where to start. I think you should probably grade only the letter, as the text examples and in class work were more like supporting examples to my philosophy. I don't know much about anyone else, but I think you'd find some pretty deep analysis in the letter other than anywhere else. As for the specific criteria, you should think about how deeply did the student go into his philosophy? Is there evidence that they are not only passionate about their philosophy, but know how to express it with a measure of depth? You should probably grade students with a measure of lenience at first, but since we're going to be spending more time with it further on, you should grade a little tougher as the year progresses and we get greater insights through various readings. The final goal of the project should be for students to have a solid idea of what their actual personal philosophy is.

Those are my two cents, I hope I didn't put anyone to sleep with them!

11:05 AM  
Blogger Madisont said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
I personally feel like this project has been one of the most intriguing ones I have worked on so far. We can put our whole heart into it. I also completely understand why you would be worried about grading it. I think it should be graded by the quality of passion. I mean, you can tell when someone is passionate about their philosophy or not. And the quality of their page and connections should be good. Like, the connections should make sense and fit together. And their references to books in the class should show that they have read and understood the book.


2:23 PM  
Blogger catherinec said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
I looked back to some of the former comments made and it looked as though they all gave you many good ideas! Why not combine some of the best? I liked the idea of sharing our personal letters to the class, so maybe the class could grade the student while they were presenting it and you could use these inspections as guidance when grading our wikispaces. I also thought that it would help the grading process if we did set up conferences. As for the actual rubric, i think we should create one with class input.

4:45 PM  
Blogger MattN said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
I feel like setting a rubric of minimums would be a very good idea, but leaving space for creativity after that. Maybe saying you have to have so many paragraphs or so many basic background pictures, and doing that will earn you a B, but then going above and beyond by really putting passion into your space would earn you an A. I agree that you can't have one rubric to fit everyone, but I feel like I work better when I atleast have a basic layout to go from. Good Luck.

6:52 PM  
Blogger kennaw said...

Mrs. Leclaire~
I think that making a strict rubric is defficult since this is a personal, opiniated essay. i think you shouldn't make a rubric at all, but instead grade the letters on if they conncet it to anything we've done in class, if our explanations back up our philiosophy, and if it seems well thought out. Not necessarily those exact sections, but something along the lines of grading us on how well the letter sounds in general and if it makes sense.

11:19 PM  
Blogger ParkerH said...

I honestly have no clue how to grade something like this. I would say base it on effort and if they seem like they truly believe whatever it is that we say, but I don't even know if THAT is fair. From what I've read so far, it seems like I would get a pretty bad grade on what I'm doing, since it's not quite what the other wikis (at least from last year) look like. I also would say that if it makes sense, and if we do follow the rough outline, then it's pretty good. Some of maybe the "deeper understanding" and such would help increase the grade? I don't really know. Sorry if I'm not much help...

2:49 PM  
Blogger shannanp said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
I think the best way that this should be graded is a completion grade and checking to make sure the wikispace contains the connections that you were looking for. This project is kind of like art, you really can't grade it on a rubric because it's unique to everyone. Perhaps talking to one of the art teachers and observing how they grade could give you some ideas on how to grade a project with little to no boundaries, something that turns out based on the students' interpretations of the instructions.
Another vital part in the grading process is definitely effort. I think that the grade should be effected alot by the amount of effort the work has been given too. This would be nice for a change because in other classes, people who give little to no effort have lots of possibilities to get better grades than people who give an over the top amount of effort and give it their all.

3:12 PM  
Blogger sdermody said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
All the ideas so far sound fairly reasonable other than the A,B,C,F rubric. Personally I believe the grade should be based upon 3 different aspects. First of all, completion...did they complete each part? The second portion would consist of a grade based upon grammatical and spelling accuracy. And finally either have a personal conference or class sharing activity to grade for creativity/thoughtfulness. Hopefully you’ll see some good ideas and best of luck.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ms. Leclaire,
Last year we had a similar project and our teacher graded our wiki while we were with her. I loved this way because I could defend myself on why I chose to do certain things and she was able to actually discuss my work and what I learned with me instead of just writing notes on a rubric.

6:08 PM  
Blogger mollyd said...

Ms. Leclaire,

I think you should conference with each student and talk to them about their project. This will help you to understand it better and see what their thinking process was. Also there should be a grade for completion. If you want you can add some part that grades the writing but I would not make that a big part.

6:20 PM  
Blogger meganu said...

Mrs. Leclaire,
Pretty much just like everyone else, I absolutely love this project. I'm actually excited to write all of this stuff about our personal beliefs and then make it all completely personal and decorate it how we want to. It's all so much fun.
I agree that these should be graded for completion. You should check to make sure each component of our wikispaces are complete and not short and rushed. They need to have a lot of meaning and thought put into them.
I'm not sure exactly on how you could pinpoint grades, like make them A's as apposed to B's and C's. I think everyone should either get an A if you feel they deserve it, or if they did a poor job they should get an F.
That's how I would grade them at least.

6:21 PM  
Blogger kristinah said...

Ms. Leclaire,
I also love this project!! And I think that the conferances would be awesome because then you could get an insiders look on how much hard work was put into these projects :-).

9:00 PM  
Blogger Lane C. said...

I did this project last year and I actually, for once, really enjoyed a project. It was an interesting concept and fun to make it personal. It really helped having a list of requirements just so we knew what to expect. What needed to be included could be and extra stuff was ok too. But I'm glad no points were assigned until after. Assigning points heavily to one or two categories makes students prioritize in a way they might not otherwise and that detracts from the personal aspect. I would say, Ms. Leclaire, that giving the students a list of what needs to be there but not assigning points is a good idea. Then there can be a content grade just making sure directions were followed as well as a subjective one.

11:18 AM  

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