#gradesmarter Follow Up

This is a follow up to the thoughts I had earlier this summer about how I want to change my grading practices - check out the original post here.

A friend at school who teaches Social Studies, Stacey Bailey, is constantly reading and researching educational practices, so I reached out to her. She already had Grading Smarter, not Harder in her stack and was happy to read it. We decided to meet yesterday to discuss and tweeted it out to the rest of our teacher friends to see if anyone else was interested in chatting. We ended up with a nice group of 5!  Three science teachers, Stacey, and me.

It's so interesting to talk with people who teach different content about what they do; it really makes me think about my practices and if I'm running my class a certain way because that's how I've always done it or because that's the best way.  After talking to these 4, I think I've solidified some things (and muddied some things up!).

Here are my previous thoughts with changes in red:
  • 80% of the final grade will be assessments (keeping this)
    • 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.) (I'm going to split it up by section in the book... think this will be a good middle ground.)
    • 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) (Final section grade will be the retest score.)
    • I'm going to give frequent "homework" quizzes in class. (I'm going to call them Quick Quizzes.) 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! (Still keeping this, but will allow the students to substitute in 2 Test section grades for their Quick Quiz grade if they improved. I need to figure out a good way for them to request this... I don't want to keep track of it! And maybe do the same if a student missed a Quick Quiz?)
  • 20% of the grade will be "other"  (need to think of a good name for this....) (Stacey suggested Preparation - really liked that!)
    • 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!)
So I think I've got Precalc grading figured out. Now new stuff to ponder:
1. Do I want to keep this identical process for my General Math 3 classes?  It would be nice to have that consistency... and would take away the constant temptation of just copying someone else's homework because it isn't going to count anyway.

2. Stacey mentioned that she'd gone to a session at High Aims about Interactive Student Notebooks (ISNs). I've done them in the past with my general classes; they're a great way to force the students to keep organized. It's been several years (3? 4?) since I've had a general class and using ISNs didn't even pop into my head until she mentioned it yesterday. So now it's back floating around and I'm thinking about doing it. I give the kids guided notes anyway, so I'd just have to do some altering with the format, invest in some tape, and that would really be it... 

3. In setting up the google form for the students to fill out when they request a retake, I'd love to have my google calendar populated with their name, time, and section request. I played with this last year and tried out Zapier but couldn't get it to work and gave up. Last night I sat for a while and tried again; it works when I force it but isn't triggered automatically like it should be. I submitted a help request, so hopefully this can get worked out. Because that would be amazing!

Lots accomplished, but lots to do!  And that's not even getting moved back into my classroom and figuring out the layout.  And decorating :)