Just do it

Yesterday I had a student raise her hand. She asked "Will there be a chance to raise our regression grade?"

If you don't have your grading system broken down by standards or units, you are missing out on this kind of awesome. Let me explain.

Notice what she didn't say. She didn't ask for extra credit. She didn't ask to turn in late work. She didn't ask for free points. She named a topic in the class. She asked me if she could have a chance to show me that she improved her learning on that topic (regression is a topic/unit in my AP Statistics course). How amazing is that? In my previous blog post I explained that I stopped trying to grade by standards and instead focus on units. Most teachers cover about 6 units and 6 big tests per semester. So even if you don't want to stop grading homework or adopt other SBG philosophies, you can still simply transform your classroom. Just change this:

  • Homework = 15%
  • Tests = 50%
  • Quizzes = 15%
  • Final = 20%

to this:

  • Homework = 15%
  • Exploring data = 15%
  • Regression = 20%
  • Design = 20%
  • Probability = 30%

That is, remove your tests/quizzes/final/projects categories and replace them with the names of the units you will teach in a given semester. Yes, there is some messiness here. You might have to enter your final exam in four pieces. And you'll have to consider carefully how many points to makes quizzes vs. tests. And other conundrums. And, of course, this implies that you are going to pay attention to growth over time. And some how dive into your gradebook and give your students a fair grade that shows their growth over time. Not just average every score together no matter what.

But won't that be worth it? Wouldn't you love it if a student was worried about their grade and instead of begging actually asked you how they could learn more about a specific topic? I'd say its more than worth it.