One of our greatest strengths of caring as an ethic is that it does not assume that all students should be treated by some impartial standard of fairness. Some students need more attention than others… ~Nel Noddings
What a special week this is for all of us. In addition to it being Homecoming Week with all the exciting celebrations we will engage in, it is also time to begin talking with our students and their parents about progress grades. As you approach the presentation of grades for your classes, it’s good to consider research-based strategies – even about grading.
Ken O’Connor, an educational author about grading systems, reminds us that, “’fair does not mean equal; yet, when it comes to grading, we insist it does.’ Fairness is much more about equity of opportunity than it is about uniformity (p.7).” If a student needed to wear glasses, we would not ask him to test without them or ask everyone to wear glasses in order to fair. Connor suggests that classwork, testing, or even make up work, you take a “positive, supportive approach that directly affects student behavior, leaving the scores and the resulting grade as pure measures of achievement (p.27).
When you begin to talk with your students in CAMP about their academic progress in the next week, make sure you ask them to create a plan to maintain or improve their current grade status. Make sure their goals are measurable and achievable. Help the students set deadlines for their goals. Write the plan down and check with the students on their deadlines to see what needs to be adjusted or to celebrate. The students should own this process, but you will need to help them manage their plan and help them be successful. As they see success in their goals, you will see a higher level of motivation and CARE-ing from the students. One of the greatest cures for student apathy is personal success. It’s good to celebrate every step of the way.
Finally, as you approach talking with students and parents, here is a great professional piece entitled, “Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say and Do,” that will help guide you in your process. For many of you, this article will just be a great reminder of how very skilled you really are in your actions each day, but it may stir ideas from years past. For our newer teachers, this is a great read and provides a list to create your own goals for your personal professional development.
Week 22 – A Look Ahead
Monday – Ugly Sweater Day; Hillyard Tour for registered Sophomores (see list)
Tuesday – Mustache Day; Assembly Schedule – Intro Homecoming Candidates
Wednesday – Red Carpet Day
Thursday – Black and White Day; Intruder Drill @ 1:15 p.m.
Friday – Spirit Day, Special Assembly Schedule (will be emailed Thursday); Homecoming Basketball Game vs. Chillicothe; Homecoming Dance (Sophomore Class Sponsors Supervise) 9-11 p.m.
~Excellence is a journey not a destination.~
O’Connor, Ken. (2011). A repair kit for grading: 15 fixes for broken grades. Pearson Education, Inc., Boston, MA.