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Hi. My question is about the grading policy in my daughter's middle school Algebra class. The teacher gives out daily classwork (about 10 problems) to be
done at school and daily homework ( about 20 -25 problems). CW can be done collaboratively, but if it is not finished at school, becomes HW. HW is checked
collectively at the start of class where the answers are given, and then graded daily for completion, but not accuracy, with the HW grade comprising 30% of the
overall grade for the class. There is a notebook check done once a week where classwork is graded for accuracy and completion, accounting for 35% of the
grade. There are usually quizzes or practice tests at least weekly, sometimes 2x per week and a "test" about every 2 weeks. The quizzes, practice tests (which
are often done collaboratively) and tests make up the remaining 35 % of their grade.

There is an algebra HW policy which states that HW should take 30-40 minutes. If a student has not completed the work in that time, they are allowed to email
the teacher to get an exemption from the completion grade the following day. If they do not, they face having the HW grade lowered for lack of completion.

Here is my concern: My daughter is doing well in the class, but she consistently cannot complete the HW in the prescribed time and often must email which
creates a lot of stress and feelings of incompetency. But I think she is doing well because she does her homework deliberately, going over it to make sure it is
correct, which is borne out on her test scores where she usually makes A's. Despite her success, I have general misgivings about a system where 30% of a
students grade is based basically on HW compliance behavior with no indication of competency as I do not feel it is supportive of learning. I also feel that and
that not giving meaningful feedback on HW accuracy is worse than not giving HW at all, as there is no chance for a student to learn what their mistakes are and
how to correct them. I see other students in her class struggling with poor test performance but of course wonderful HW grades. I would like to open a
discussion about this with the school but my attempts so far have been dismissed. Any advice?

2013-12-28
Mike
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:

This is one of the worst grading policies I have ever heard about. You are right to be
concerned and I think it is essential that you start a dialogue with the school. There are two
serious problems with what you describe. 1. a grading policy where 65% of the grade is not
about a student's knowledge of Algebra; neither homework completion nor notebook have
any place in grades. 2. 25 problems for homework for all students every night is absurd -
too much, not differentiated, and who knows who does it. The teacher and the school
needs to do some reading about grading and homework and hugely revise their policies.
Furthermore, in this age of standards grades should be based on standards not
assessment methods or activities.

 

Mike's
Comment

2013-12-29

Thank you for your feedback. I truly appreciate it, as it has given me the confidence to push
forward. Do you have an article you can recommend that I can share with the school leaders
to lend my arguments some credibility?


The Grade Doctor's
Comment

2014-01-02

Sorry for the delay in replying but I have had limited access to internet. I suggest for homework look at the Downloads on homeworklady.com. For lots of good YouTube material on grading go to http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAdaQVO-n928rdf8ypvDU8Ifxw209aZP7


Mike's
Comment

2014-01-03

Thank you !!!!!!

 

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