Are Grades Due Already?
You are not alone if you’ve ever asked this question. 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 here are some grading tips to help keep you focused.
How do you fairly assess students?
So, how do you fairly assess where your students are early in the school year, or if you’ve fallen behind with grades? By using multi-disciplinary assignments. Assignments where you can get at least 2 or 3 grades from one assignment. For example, a piece of writing for a social studies lesson can be both a writing and a social studies grade. A thematic unit like my Dinosaurs lessons and pop up book is perfect for multiple grades. It combines Science, Reading, Writing, and art activities. Morning meetings are great for assessing students for listening and speaking grades (especially if students have time to share during meetings).
All grades do not need to be tests or quizzes
The most important tip to remember with grades is that every grade does not need to be based on a test or quiz. Simple assignments like a 2nd grade lesson from your 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. I am a big advocate of Authentic Assessments, and you can read more about them in my Assessments Shortcuts post here.
More grades result in a better snapshot of the student
My philosophy has always been that by using more assignments to assess my students’ grades, the fairer their grades will be. When 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). When my students 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 class list and quickly put a grade on each student’s page and in your grade book.
The important thing to remember is that your lessons can continue as normal. There is no need to throw out your fun teaching ideas for the day in order to cram in a pop quiz. Follow your lessons as normal, and create your grading around your lessons.