I tell the Rockets that I don't give grades--they earn them. Grading is a controversial subject and I want to take the mystery out of grading for you.
Rockets are to hand in their assigned work on the counter. At the
beginning of the year, I remind students to hand in work, but at the end of the year
they're on their own. Every day, my student helpers and I go through work handed in and
track it using checklists. Students who haven't handed in work are notified and given a
chance to find it and sometimes complete it. This means that Rockets are told almost daily
when work and homework isn't turned in.
Grades are entered into the a computer program. I think it's important for parents to be fully aware of their child's progress and why they're earning the grades they're receiving. You can view your child's grades online at any time. You must have your child's secret number and a password to find the grades. Contact me if you need your child's number.
I hope you'll feel free to call me at 833-4100 or send me an e-mail whenever you have a question about grades or progress.
I don't grade all the homework or daily papers. Quite frankly, I would be up all night if I attempted to grade everything! The Rockets know that daily work is practice and its up to them to do the work and study. They don't usually know which homework or daily work I'll grade. I do, however, keep track of when work is in or not and use that as part of the grade for each subject.
Heres some other areas I look at when assigning grades, roughly listed in order of importance:
Tests. Tests are very important this year. At the minimum every week, there will be two tests covering the weekly selection in the Reading textbook, and a Spelling test. Math Chapter tests are more irregular, but will occur almost once a week.
Projects. Projects occur infrequently, but will show how well each student can use what we've learned.
Daily Grades. I don't grade all daily work. Most daily work is just for skill practice. I do, however, take grades from some daily work, but the Rockets won't know which work I'm going to grade. Most 5-paragraph writing assignments are graded.
Observation. I take note of daily work, homework, and work not easily graded (such as oral reading) and compile these into frequent observation grades.
Participation and Effort. Students who take an active part in learning do better. If a student isnt trying, his or her grade may reflect that.
Most of third grade teachers at our school are relatively strict about assignment requirements. Not all teachers at the school follow the same requirements. If work is not in by the due date or time, or if the work indicates obvious disregard for instructions, it may earn a zero. This may seem harsh, but it also works to help the students develop reasonable work habits. I may drop a few zeroes at report-card time, because I'd prefer grades to reflect progress more than work habits, but students have to learn that there are severe grade consequences for neglecting work. Cheating on assignments will also earn a zero.
Here are the grading cutoffs:
A B C D F 100-90 89-80 79-70 69-60 59 or below