“If you had to give this a grade . . .”

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So I didn’t make a big deal about it.  I didn’t say I would not be giving their work letter or number grades.  I just told them what I would be giving.  And I handed back the first assessment and though they did wonder where the grade was, there were no questions about it.  But I handed back one quiz just this week to a child who was absent when I returned everyone else’s.  And he said, “But, if you had to give this a grade, what would it be?”  And I will give quarter grades.  What will they be?

I know where I’m going for the information to back up the grades.  I’ll be looking at the daily rubrics – I should have close to 30 per child.  I’ll be looking at their assessments and writing.  And I’ll look at a narrative on each assignment that looks like this:

Quiz 1 – Written answers – unclear wording, one correct but not thorough, one totally misunderstood. Content – missing a defn. Memorization missed six. L&L perfect.

Or, like this:

Quiz 1 – Written answers were correct, just need small additions, failed to answer one part of one question. Content – mastered. Memorization perfect. L&L missed one.

And before I begin my review of their work, I’ll hand it all to them in a folder and ask them to comment on their work this quarter and to assign themselves a grade.  And I imagine I’ll hand them something that looks like this:

A – Content is mastered.  Written expression is clear, complete and well-developed. You are participating in the progress of class each day by contributing to discussions and group work, working well independently and completing homework on time.  You ask for help as needed and take feedback seriously.

B – Content is mostly mastered.  Written expression is clear but not always complete and well-developed.  You participate in the progress of class but are sometimes distracted or off-topic; your homework is not always completed.  You sometimes ask for help and need a reminder to pay attention to feedback.

C – Content is partially mastered.  Written expression is not always clear or complete.  You participate minimally in the progress of class and often neglect your homework.  You rarely ask for help or focus on feedback.

D – Content is not mastered.  Written expression is not clear or complete.  You hardly participate in class and neglect your homework.  You do not ask for help or respond to feedback.

What do you think of my grading scale?  If you teach math or science, leave your version in the comments for others.

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