Sunday, January 5, 2014

Biggest Take-Away From "A Repair Kit For Grading" (15 Fixes for Broken Grades)

     My first comment is that I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  At this point, my biggest take-away is that it has certainly made me reflect on my previous practices and uses of grades. In my past 24 years, there have been many suggestions and discussions on not only the process of grading but rather how you eventually arrived at the value of the assessment.  I believe that it truly depends on the courses that you teach--on how an assignment or standard is mastered or not.  Also, is the standard achievable by all students?

     Secondly, wIth regard to the 15 Fixes, I already use several that are described by Mr. O'Connor and his committee.  I also agree, to a certain degree, with the suggestions to not grade for effort, using zeros, group grading, attendance, and offering extra credit.  However, again it depends on the type of course you teach and how the expectations/standards are organized.  To explain, a student may not
have done well at the beginning of the course, however, at the end of the course the student begins to improve--the beginning and the ending concepts may not even be related.  So, in this case, the fact that the student has improved, has no relevance on the fact the material at the beginning of the course was not necessarily mastered.

    Thirdly, you must ask the question relevant to assessment design.  Have you truly considered all the learning styles of the students that you have in your course?   To explain, if writing is not necessarily a requirement for your course, then would an assessment requiring only essay responses be a true measure of mastery?

     I suggest that we continue to maintain high expectations for all students, design our curriculum for our courses with standards that reflect real world expectations, offer reteaching, provide timely and constructive feedback and ensure that assessments are truly measuring for mastery.

Paola Trottier

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