Changes I'm Making for 2018-19 #gradesmarter

Every summer I promise that I'm going to find the perfect solution for dealing with homework.

And then I give up and do what I've always done.  Mostly check for completion, occasionally do a spot check for specific problems, and give points for accurate completion of online (MathXL or DeltaMath) assignments.

This year I think I've found some changes that will make me happy and I'll (hopefully) stick with.  After seeing some twitter conversations led by @druinok and @mathteacher24 about the book Grading Smarter, Not Harder by Myron Dueck, I made sure to buy the book (you should too!).  Check out the hashtag here:  #gradesmarter

In a nutshell, here's what I took away from the book and the changes that I'm thinking of making in Precalc:

Basically, I don't want to give homework grades but I also want to be able to incorporate grades other than assessments in my final average.  I think I'm going to compromise and do an 80/20 split.

  • 80% of the final grade will be assessments
    • Students will have the ability to re-quiz (I've never allowed that before in precalc) within 2 weeks of the original quiz. I'm still trying to decide whether to do this based on topics or make students re-do the whole quiz. (Probably by topics.)
    • The final quiz grade will be some sort of split between the original and the new... maybe I'll keep to the 80/20 breakdown?  (80 new, 20 original)
    • I'm going to give frequent "homework" quizzes in class. Although I'm not going to grade as much in terms of assignments (more on that later), I want to make sure that kids know the material throughout the unit. My plan is to give quick quizzes that are similar to the homework problems that I assigned.
    • Unexcused absences for those quiz days will be marked as 0's. I don't see this happening often and they're not going to be major points, but I want some sort of accountability. If a student has an excused absence they'll be excused from the quiz.  With 80ish students I definitely don't want to deal with makeups!
  • 20% of the grade will be "other"  (need to think of a good name for this....)
    • This would incorporate warm-ups, projects, and weekly reviews that I assign either on MathXL or DeltaMath
    • I don't plan on giving grades for the regular MathXL assignments; I want students to have the freedom to try some problems and make sure they understand the material on their own. And if they're confident enough without trying the problems, so be it.   (It'll cycle back around with weekly review problems!)
The book also addressed giving students unit plans, which I totally intend to do. I'm kind of surprised that it was something I hadn't thought of doing before.  What a great way for students to see the topics we'd be learning about at the beginning of the chapter and then reviewing at the end to make sure they were comfortable with the material.

Here's one I put together for Matrices (our first chapter):
I might add some sort of checkboxes to the right for kids to check off that we've learned the material and again to check that they know it.  We'll see how it looks.

Still a lot of questions I need to answer in the next 3 weeks. But I feel like I have a good start!