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Cruising thrugh Life

 

No GRADES FOR single HOMEWORK OR CLASSWORK Assignments

This is probably the most controversial of my ideas. After about 5 years of my using this philosophy our country mandated that participation and class work count for 25% of a students grades. I had to scramble to make that work with my data sheet and there for the sheets come in 800 or 1200 point scales. That allowed me to have 2 (quasi participation) grades for the 800 point scale and 3 grades for the 1200 point scale.

Students were expected to keep all their work. In terms of tests, quizzes and projects, they returned grades assignments were their receipts. They were helped to design a notebook for Tests, Quizzes, Daily work and Homework. Because daily work and home work were never graded individually that doesn't mean there weren't strategies for the encouragement of the assignments. I spent considerable time helping students understand that the more they prepared for the quizzes and tests, the better they'd do. Practice on the court for basketball, tennis, etc made for better games and a higher chance of winning. Same in the classroom.

When I began teaching I thought of what are over riding goals were as educators. Simply, were to prepare students to live and work in the adult world successfully. There for I tried to model my classroom after what the expectations of adults were, not in the amount of work, not necessarily in the quality of work, but in how the work was accomplished an when. When students would want to argue with me on the how or why I was doing something a particular way I would ask them to find a real world example that mom and dad or another professional had to do. If they could find a different way I would modify the style of what I did.

Most every student at some point in their life want's to be a sports star. Athletes have home work, they have class work, it's just called something different. What they don't have is individual grades for practicing, for work outside the "game". Lawyers, Dr's, teachers, mechanics all have work outside of what they get paid to do. Most all professions have "Continuing Education" in some form.

A mechanic needs to make an engine work. If the mechanic takes time to look something up; the specs for tightening a bolt say, they don't get 5 more bucks, or how about checking a gap a spark plug (yeah I know that's now outdated :) ) , an extra 2 bucks. An athlete that begins to work out 3 times a week, he's not paid to weight lift. Athletes work out so they can get the pay for their "game". Completing the job, securing more clients, creating a newer way to to do something, that's why we do extra, what adults call Continuing Education, students call Homework. So to, why are we "grading" homework or class work"? No one has adequately explained it to me.

By grading homework or class work we demean the value of learning. We take an internal ability that all kids have; that is that learning is fun, and to use a psychological term, we begin to externalize that behavior. We do that by grading everything they do! NO, NO NO! We also expect them all to complete any of the work on our schedule. After the first year of teaching I learned; and I never graded any of their individual assignments. What I did do was two things: 1) I made a game out of the assignments, and 2) I let the students use their work on Tests.

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