Ken O’Connor “15 Fixes to Broken Grades”

On March 6, 2014, we looked at Ken O’Connor’s “15 Fixes to Broken Grades.”

Thing I agree with:

– keeping behavior and grades separate

– support for students who submit work late (although I would do this within reason because your students need to work as hard as you. However, I think if students hand in late work they probably have extenuating circumstances and need our support).

– report absences separate from grades

– organize information by I Can Statements/Outcomes (I like this but I am still trying to figure this out. I think once I understand the outcomes better, this will be easier).

– provide clear expectations

– rely on quality assessments and not on those that do not meet the standards of quality (ie. get students to redo and then grade)

– use your professional judgment (ie. mean is not the only measure)

– use alternatives for zero (ie. incomplete, etc.)

– use summative evidence only in grade and keep formative assessment out of it

– include lots of formative assessment in teaching practice

– focus on recent achievement and allow for practice time

– involve students in their own assessment and make them part of the grading process (This is harder than it sounds!)

Things I am unsure of:

– do not compare students to each other but to a standard (I believe in this but I am not anywhere close to this level of success and mastery yet. Hopefully one day!)

– not including group scores in grades (I think this is sometimes appropriate. We can use our professional judgment to determine when it is fair and when it is not).

– apply fair consequences for academic dishonesty and reassess (ie. do not give a zero. I agree but I wonder, what is a fair consequence for stealing work or cheating? However, giving a zero would not correct the behavior I bet. But what does? This will be stressful. Hopefully the school I go to would have a policy).

Something I dislike:

– not giving bonus points unless the work has resulted in a higher level of achievement (I think bonus questions are fun and I think students who work hard should have that reflected in their grades. I’m not sure I even understand this point.)

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