Weighty Matters

Two weeks until I go back to school. This is the time I start mulling over how I want to set my class up. One item always on this list is the matter of grade weighting.

I weight grades because I want students to get credit for trying. Not trying in that half-hearted  “Well, at least I did something…” way, but trying in the of “I’m not sure if it works, but I did something new.”  But I also want students to gain big points for final projects, the things that take tons of work.

For the past few years, I’ve used the following system and tweaked the percentages slightly each year: Classwork 30%, Reading 30%, Portfolios 20% and Projects 20%. I give two portfolio assignments  and two projects each term to make sure that one grade doesn’ t make or break you.

But I’m thinking of ditching that system. Since my lesson plans have become more open-ended and I’ve started allowing more student choice into my class, it has become harder for me to tell what skills a student has mastered by looking at my gradebook. This matters at the end of the year when I have to fill out paperwork on students who did poorly on the state test. (For the record, when teaching a concept, I use a variety of assessment methods to check student progress.)

So here’s what I’m working with for the upcoming year:

  • Reading – 30%: Including literacy letters, RC points/book reviews, and tests/activities based on reading.
  • Writing – 30%: Including portfolios which will count double, writing practice and quick writes/journaling.
  • Grammar/Vocabulary – 20%: Including vocab tests/activities and grammar work.
  • Projects – 20%: There will be a final project for each quarter, but students will complete many activities before the due date so there will be a few grades in this category.

I’m thinking this will give me (and the administrators who look at them at the end of the year) a better overview of where a student may be struggling.

What do you think?

(Photo credit: tompagenet)

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Weighty Matters

  1. Your first set (the one you’re not using) somehow adds up to 120%.

    ?

  2. hrmason

    Oh…you’re right. I fixed it, thanks.

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