Are grades killing learning in your classroom?
At the end of the day, who has eight hours to spend ranking and sorting students who are just going to throw their returned papers in the nearest trash can?
If you've been looking for a better way
It's Time to reThink Grading
Not only is all the time you're spending grading killing your work-life balance and taking time away from your own family, hobbies, and friends, it's taking away time that you could be spending discovering ways to engage students in learning, providing valuable feedback on student writing processes and products, or building your classroom community.
Ranking and Sorting Doesn't Increase Learning
Students often internalized the label grades place on them. Instead of viewing them as a job well done or an opportunity to rise to the occasion, they see grades as a judgement of their value and character. Think about the students you have in your class:
In all these scenarios, no one learns anything from that number or letter at the top of the paper. So why waste your time? I've wanted to ditch grades for years, but in my school, we had to enter two grades per week to keep parents happy and maintain athletic eligibility lists.
So I devised grading processes, policies, and resources that would enable me to focus on providing students the feedback they needed while feeding the system that wanted numbers -- all while reducing my grading load. Even better, I was able to maximize student engagement, even after the assignment was done.
What you’ll Learn
I'll send you seven emails over the course of two weeks. That means you receive an email every other day, so have some time to digest its contents and thing about how you'll implement their concepts in your classroom practice. Or reply to the email to ask questions. I'm happy to help!
What are grades, really? What we think grades are and what they really do are two different things. Once you understand that, you can shift your grading paradigm to one that encourages learning
Should we be ranking and sorting our students? Even from a scholar academic perspective, ranking and sorting doesn't work. Think about the impact of labels on students' willingness to take learning risks.
Why should students be able to revise anything at any time? While this may seem counterintuitive, allowing students to revise at any time actually makes the end of the year easier.
The Paradigm Shift: Teacher Feedback, Action Statements, and Self-Reflection. This is how you can actually take back your time while investing in actual student learning within your classroom.
How to implement the revision process. Revision is not only the most important step in the learning and writing processes, but also the most overlooked. Find out how you can tackle this beast.
Three types of grades you need for your ELA class. By dividing grades into three types and focusing heavily on just one, you can make sure students value what is most important in the learning process.
How to reduce your grading and encourage students to own their learning. While I can't give you all the answers or tell you exactly how to modify your system in a series of emails, these theoretical and practical tips should help you re-evaluate and prioritize your grading system so that you can modify it to suit the needs of your students, your work-life balance, and your school system.