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Friday, September 27, 2013

Standards based grading (SBG) from a new perspective.

      I have been using standards based grading for several years now.  It is the fairest way that I can see to inform a kid and their parents of how he or she is doing in my class. I love the feedback they get. I love the openness it creates in communication between student and learner. I love how it converts point-grubbing students back into actual learners. In a nutshell, I love it. And I love that I can't stop talking to my colleagues about how great it is. It is one of the best things I've done for my teaching.

     But not everyone uses it. And previously I was O.K. with that. I have great repect for my fellow educators. I am willing to do what I do because I feel there is a problem with the traditional grading system. But there are many who don't. And I can respect that. Or at least I thought I could.  Because up until now my son has always received straight A's. This year he started junior high. It is three weeks into school and he has missing assignments.

     Some of his teachers don't accept late assignments. Or reduce the credit significantly. And it is surreal to me. Because I used to be that teacher. I was on this kick that someone had to show them responsibility. This is a very real theme in junior high schools. Sure I gave them something. Even back then I realized that a zero would kill a kid's chances of ever coming back from F-dom. So my lowest grade was a 50% if they turned it in late. (I know what you are thinking... How gracious of me!) I also gave extra credit to help improve the grade. (Although I wouldn't accept it if you had any missing assignments.) So I totally get where they are coming from.

     BUT THEY ARE TOTALLY WRONG!!!! Sorry about that. I can't handle it now that it is my son being affected by the nonsensical grading system. What is the point of education? Is it to make sure things are turned in on time? Is that really our top priority? That is not really what I think our focus should be. I'm with Rick Wormeli on this one. If it doesn't relate to the learning in the classroom of content, it shouldn't affect the grade.

     Parent-Teacher Conferences should be interesting.