Grading Tips That Save Time

The school year has just begun and so far you’ve been getting to know your students and assessing where they are individually.  Who has been thinking about grades?   Well . . .believe it or not they’re just around the corner.  

If your district is anything like mine, grades come out every ten weeks.  In my district, however, we also have the five week progress reports. . .which essentially are the same as grades.  So, how do you fairly assess where your students are this early in the school year?  This is the perfect time for a multi-disciplinary assignment.  One where you can get at least 2 grades from one assignment.  If I teach a social studies lesson, and have students write a response about what we're studying that assignment is both a social studies grade and a writing grade.  This can be done with math and science, or reading and writing as well.  Morning meetings are great for assessing students for listening and speaking grades.  

The most important thing to remember with grades is that every grade does not need to be based
on a test or quiz.  Simple assignments like a page in a math book can be great.  When grading regular in class assignments remember to use a fair rubric for your students – effort truly counts if you’re grading an assignment on a skill you just taught.  My philosophy has always been that by using more assignments to assess my students’ grades, the fairer their grades will be.  If I use a page from a math workbook, I pick a page that my students had plenty of time to work on, and an assignment that I was able to circulate through the classroom and assist students with.  Then when I grade the page I use a very simple assessment like a check, check plus or check minus.  This way, if students get most of the page correct it’s a check plus (B).  For my students who have fully completed each problem correctly it’s a check ++ (A).  If they have most of the page completed with a decent amount of it correct it’s a check (C).  If most of the page is incomplete or incorrect it’s a check minus (D).  If a child put forth no effort whatsoever it’s an F.  Using a system like this you can walk around with a pen, and a classlist and quickly put a grade on each student’s page and in your gradebook.
If you're looking for some ideas of quick lessons that can count for more than one subject check out my eStore.  Happy Grading!

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