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Ref: Making the Grades
Hello,
I was wondering if you could clarify some points for me in regards to your article, Making the Grade.
1. "Eliminating the use of penalties for behaviors such as submitting required assessment evidence after due dates, absence, and academic dishonesty." Would you mind elaborating? Here is my thinking - cheating is against the law and there are penalties for breaking a law. How do such policies prepare anyone for life? If students aren't going to consider due dates, why should they consider being on time to school, going to school, etc.?
2. You are against giving a student a grade of zero for work not done. Do you apply this policy to homework as well? What is the alternative to a zero, assuming the student is still held accountable?
3. You stress the importance of commenting, "each standard could have space to record comments on student strengths, areas for improvement, or observations." If I grade using a detailed rubric and supplement that rubric with comments, is that not the same as what you suggest? I ask because another part of your article states, "well written generic descriptors become the basis for the scoring tools..." Should a rubric not be detailed? I always considered a detailed rubric as an excellent learning tool because it 1) breaks down the assignment and 2) directly shows the student his / her strengths and weaknesses.
4. You state that "quizzes, most homework, and most daily work have no place in grades." Why, then, should a student do homework? Why come to school? What is so challenging about having a student do homework? I agree with some points of your article, such as homework should be used as a supplement, done without parent aid, and done for a purpose. Why the strong opinion to ban such a tool?
I do not mean to be overly blunt in this email, I am just very interested in the logic behind what you write. Most importantly, is it possible for you to give me the name of a school district that follows your guidelines. I am most interested in contacting teachers to get their feedback on your system.
Thank you,
Susan Chiulli

2010-02-02
Susan Chiulli
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:


1. As you acknowledge all the things you list are behaviors and thus
should have behavioral consequences. The consequences can be as
hard or as soft as you believe is necessary to make the point that they
are unacceptable behaviors.
2. Yes, this policy applies to homework because only rarely should be part of grades. The
alternative to zero that holds the student accountable is that, if they have not provided
sufficient evidence, the school provides times and places for support that the student
must attend until sufficient evidence has been provided.


3. If I grade using a detailed rubric and supplement that rubric with comments, is that not
the same as what you suggest?
No, the report card is a summary of achievement over a period of time; what you are
talking about is feedback on each separate assessment.

I ask because another part of your article states, "well written generic descriptors become
the basis for the scoring tools..." Should a rubric not be detailed?
Yes, but it needs to have a reference point which is provided by the overall generic
descriptors.

I always considered a detailed rubric as an excellent learning tool because it 1) breaks
down the assignment and 2) directly shows the student his / her strengths and
weaknesses.
I agree.

_
4. You state that "quizzes, most homework, and most daily work have no place in grades."
Why, then, should a student do homework?
To practice so that they get better in the same way that they practice for band and
basketball.

Why come to school?
To learn.

What is so challenging about having a student do homework?
Students absolutely should do homework if it is useful and relevant for them.

I agree with some points of your article, such as homework should be used as a
supplement, done without parent aid, and done for a purpose.
Thanks.

Why the strong opinion to ban such a tool?
I am not suggesting that homework should be banned, just that it should not be included
in grades most of the time.

I do not mean to be overly blunt in this email, I am just very interested in the logic behind
what you write.
Blunt is fine with me!

Most importantly, is it possible for you to give me the name of a school district that
follows your guidelines.
North Canton, OH; Grand Island, NE.

 

 

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