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Monday, November 6, 2017

Grading Smarter Not Harder Series

Have you been searching for a way to motivate even the most resistant students to complete their work?  How about ways to lessen your grading load and make the process quicker?  If so, this is the series of blog posts for you!

This is the first post of the series based on the book Grading Smarter Not Harder by Myron Dueck.

Grading Smarter Not Harder Series and a FREEBIE: Beg, Borrow, and Teach!

There are so many great suggestions in this book.  In this first post, I just wanted to give a summary of all those suggestions and some actionable tips.

Some ideas in the book that really got me thinking:

Idea #1: Assignments that are late or not turned in on time should not automatically receive a score reduction or zero. 
The chronic procrastinators and students who happily take the zero over doing the work are the students who need to complete the work. They have missed so many learning opportunities because (if we're being honest) it's easier for them not do the work and it's less work for the teacher to give a zero. 

Actionable Tip:  Give a time "span" in which something is due
I.e., If next Friday is the due date, students can turn it in "early" on Wednesday. Watch positive peer pressure kick in when you compliment the early-finishers. Alternatively, you could offer extra credit for turning it in early. 

Idea #2:  Students shouldn't receive a grade on their report card if they have not completed all/most of the assigned work for that time period.

Actionable Tip: Students should receive an "Incomplete" until the work has been made up.  The idea of giving an incomplete on a report card both intrigued and bothered me. I wasn't so sure my school or district would support this because they set fairly strict grading windows in which we have to enter report card grades.

Idea #3:  Students learn more when they know what the end expectation is

Actionable Tip:  Provide students with the following things at the beginning of a unit, chapter, or project:

  • Rubrics
  • Study guides
  • Unit outlines / syllabi 
  • Goal statements

Idea #4:  We can close the achievement gap with retesting. 

Actionable Tip:  Students learn more from correcting their mistakes (test corrections or retakes) and they retain the information longer. 

Come back next week for the post on motivating students to complete homework and how the grading load can be lessened!


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