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Dear Grade Doctor,

My name is Mark Vagle and I teach a classroom assessment course at the University of Georgia. As part of a small group class discussion, we pose 5 questions for you.

1) How does (or should) one grade creativity?

2) In your opinion, is there an accurate way to account for participation in a single grade? (i.e., the grade that is on the report card)

3) For test essay questions, what percentage do you think should be devoted to content and what percentage devoted to grammar?

4) Have you found that students do quality work without grades being attached to the assignment?

5) Do you think homework should be used more for summative or formative purposes? If it's formative, would you suggest it be graded?

2010-11-10
Mark Vagle
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your questions. I am very glad to hear that these issues are being discussed in
college courses.

1) How does (or should) one grade creativity?
Assessing creativity is extremely difficult but it is obviously important in some subject
areas. Basically I think the same principle applies as it is does for any other skill/learning
goal - we have to make the 'what' and the 'how well' as clear as possible to students. This
is often done best with rubrics supported by exemplars but it is very difficult,if not
impossible, to come up with good rubrics for creativity.

2) In your opinion, is there an accurate way to account for participation in a single grade?
(i.e., the grade that is on the report card)
No, and participation should not be included in grades unless it is part of the public,
published standards/learning goals for the subject/course.

3) For test essay questions, what percentage do you think should be devoted to content
and what percentage devoted to grammar?

It depends on the learning goals for the subject/course. If the learning goals are about
knowledge and understanding, the quality of the writing, including grammar) has to be
good enough to make the writing understandable, but the score for the essay should
be for content. If the learning goals include the quality of writing then the part of the
grade for writing should be based on the relative importance of the content and writing
learning goals.

4) Have you found that students do quality work without grades being attached to the
assignment?
Yes, when we train them out of the 'does this count' syndrome and help them to see
'everything counts, some as practice, some as performance.' Students understand this in
band and basketball - we need to help them to understand and experience this in the
classroom.

5) Do you think homework should be used more for summative or formative purposes? If
it's formative, would you suggest it be graded?
If homework is practice ( and most is) assessment is formative and should not be part of
grades. If homework involves extension and/or integration, assessment is summative and
may be part of grades as long as we monitor carefully to make sure that it is the student's
own work.

 

 

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