When true learning is taking place a “grade” should not be the primary question.
Students need enough time to learn and feedback on their learning process early and often.
What research says:
- We stop learning as soon as something is labeled with a grade
- Learning math takes time (different amounts of time for different students).
- The more “gaps” we allow into a students understanding of a concept the larger those gaps become moving forward. This leads to potentially larger roadblocks in future courses.
- Retention show learning more than a “one-and-done” approach.
My attempts to match to research
- I show "grades" last. I want students to focus on and analyze what they do and do not know.
- I ask students to retake tests multiple times in class (and out of class as needed).
- I ask students to show proficiency (70% or better) on each topic to avoid gaps in their understanding.
- Through retakes, I also ask students who “got it” to also show over time they still “get it” as evidence of retention.
So where does the grade come from?
Students will be tested on the concepts discussed in class. The ”Checkpoints” will go in the gradebook for each topic tested. Any grade less than a 70% means that topic has not been “passed”, and students will have other opportunities before the semester ends to show they understand.
- Overall Grade At the end of the semester/year each topic will be equally weighted to determine the overall letter grade of the student. You will not see an overall grade until the end of the semester/year, but remember students are considering “Passing” throughout the semester if they have 70% or higher on each topic.
- Incomplete “I” Throughout the year the overall grade will show as an “I” for “Incomplete”, meaning the semester/year is “Incomplete” and no grade will be determined until that point in time. Doing this allows student to focus on their learning and how they are understanding, rather than their grade and getting stressed or settling for the minimum