What Do You Want to Know- Question #4

Great question from Susan Dee today!

I teach a 4th/5th grade looping class using the workshop model. In the fall I will return to 4th grade to begin a new loop. My biggest frustration has been around grading! We use the traditional A-F system. Any ideas for making it easier???

I addressed this a little in Question #2 earlier in the week.  I also use the traditional A-F grading system in my district and I have managed to infuse it into my reading/writing workshop.    How do I manage this?  Rubrics!  Lots and lots of rubrics.  

I grade almost all assignments using a rubric.  Rubrics make teachers’ expectations clear and show students how to meet those expectations.  From projects to letter-essays, my students know exactly what I am looking for and how I will be grading the assignment.  And the rubrics allow me room to assess each student on an individual basis.  

Because I grade using rubrics, I usually end up with scores like “34/42”.  I do not convert these to an A-F grade.  Instead, I use a point system throughout the marking period.  Each assignment is worth a specific number of points (derived from the rubric) and I put the points a student earns in my grade book.  At the end of the marking period, I add up the points a student earned and divide it by the number of points they could have earned.  That number is then their marking period average!  For example, a student who earned 178 points out of a possible 205 would receive an 86.8% for the marking period.  This would be a B in my district.  

I also like the point system because it allows me to weight certain assignments.  The homework grade is always worth 50 points, projects/tests are worth more than 50 points (usually closer to 100 points and sometimes even more) and quizzes are worth less than 50 points.  Yes, I even grade tests out of points!  For me, this is the most accurate way to reflect the work my students do.  

I hope this helps!