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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A different approach to Grades.

Worried about how this years grades are being determined differently?

At open house I'm sure many parents were slightly concerned with how their students grades were going to be determined this year. A new district initiative has been put in place to make grades weighted primarily on assessments. The 7 minutes I was able to discuss this with you during open house may have left some questions unanswered. Hopefully this will help.

In my science class 70% of the students grade will come from assessments while the other 30% will come from labs & classwork. I know when I first changed to this it made me anxious, as I'm sure it has to many of you. I now believe this will more accurately portray the students mastery of the science content.

Will my student still get homework?
Even though homework is not going to count for a grade it will still be an expectation to complete a homework assignment when given. These assignments will be given when a topic has been taught and we are now practicing how well we know it. This will be a gauge on if the student has any questions over the topic or needs clarification on something. We will check for accuracy the next day on these assignments. It will be very important that these assignments still get completed to help them prepare for the upcoming tests.   

What if my student doesn't do well on a test?
For many reasons a student might not perform to his liking on a test. It happens. There will be opportunities for retakes for full points within a 4 week window after the test. BUT for a student to retake the test they must have a conference with me before that retake. In this conference we will review his science notebook and discuss what they can do to get a better grade next time. We will also review if they have completed all of their homework assignments in that unit and be asked to complete the ones they did not finish. They might be asked to complete a study guide and/or stay for tutoring if needed. 

What about the other 30%?
The other 30% comes from Labs and Classwork. In science lab skills are very important and will reflect on their grade. There are many labs that we will do this year and they will be graded based on their execution of that lab as well as thorough evaluation of the results to make an accurate conclusion. Classwork could be a variety of activities that we do in class but will always be things they only do in class and not have to take home.

I know this is a change to grades so if you have any questions now or anytime throughout the year please let me know and I'll be happy to discuss any issues with you.

I look forward to a great year!