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Julie and Crystal.... a MFW high school grading question...

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I'm planning to order MFW AHL. Before I place the order, I'm trying to make sure all of my questions are answered first. I called MFW and had a wonderful conversation with a rep who was most helpful. Now, I hope you can help me with one question since you all have experience using their high school program.


I have to turn in grades to my homeschool covering: both a number and a letter grade for all high school subjects.


Please tell me how I can get a grade for English, history, and Bible from MFW AHL. The rep mentioned that there are instructions that will help me grade assignments. It states in the catalog that there are no formal tests for history, Bible, or literature.


Parents are supposed to assign grades based on informal discussions... this is so subjective. How to I quantify a grade for this?


I realize there are daily written questions and vocabulary quizzes in the lit. I would think these would be easy enough to grade.


Will I have trouble coming up with grades to report?



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Well, I'll start with a bit before I head offline for the night. And then I hope more folks than me and Crystal chime in :)


Really some of high school grading is pretty simple, like math and such. It's mostly writing and project-style learning that gets more complicated. I tend to take a look at different ideas and then come up with my own system for my school. Here are some things you might look at as you think it through.


1. Be sure to look thru the sample:

Pages 8-9: http://www.mfwbooks.com/inc/pdf/ahlsample.pdf

And there are some grading rubrics in the Literature Supplement.


2. You might check around the MFW board for ideas like this one:



3. I might hunt around this WTM board (search the high school board in particular), for threads such as this one:


There's also the high school "writing sub forum" you could use.


4. I'll just copy-paste a post I wrote but you could read some other good replies about grading writing over on the Yahoo group MFWHighSchool:




I'm not a big grade person, so I probably shouldn't answer. But I'll try to describe what I see myself doing...




I tend to give an A if my student really did the assignment in a *full* way - taking on the full meaning behind the assignment, really putting in the research time and/or the editing time, and getting that lesson right (not perfect, but as right as he is able, or a lot more right than he was able to do before this assignment).




I give a B if the student did pretty well on content but didn't edit little things even when reminded, or worked with me and demonstrated improvement but the content is still really so-so, or did cover all the basics asked for in the assignment and edited it just fine but didn't really invest any more effort in learning the writing skill (e.g. my son's short psalms in AHL). He'd also get a B if he'd done this type of assignment before and done it well, but he only strove to do it the same this time.




And a C at my house would be when the assignment itself was done and the quality so-so, but the student really didn't do what I asked in terms of editing or further improvement, or just stuck to imitating the example given for the assignment so he never really *owned* the lesson being taught, even in a small way.




I don't tend to give a grade of D or F, since I would rather just spend twice as much time until we get something worthy of more.




Sometimes when he's on the edge, with some good work but some silly mistakes, I start counting. I figure the whole assignment is worth 100, and he needs a 90 to get an A, or 80 for a B. If he knows his elementary school errors and refused to correct them, then I might take off a whole point for each, so he'd better not have more than 10. If he has a factual error or a poor sentence structure or a bad transition paragraph, I might still only take off one point each (or one point for the whole group of run-ons) since those are bigger errors but higher skills or skills we need more work on. So an A might be a solid piece of work, fully getting into the lesson, and no more than 10 criticisms when all is said and done.




However, there are so many variations. Sometimes I allow my student to bite off more than he can chew, just to learn a lesson about that (in high school, rather than in college), or to get him excited about something. Then I'd probably not count every problem in paragraph transitions and factual details and such. Gasp, I might give an A for an imperfect piece of work! However, I might not give two A's in a row for those same exact results, with no improvement.




Another thing that can help with evaluating writing is getting a few outside thoughts. A whole outside class might not help you as the parent to learn to grade. Instead, just a little reaction from another reader can sometimes gently pull you out of the mire and into a little more objectivity :) I've emailed an essay to my older son, or asked my dh to read an essay. You can also post an assignment here or on the MFW board.






Edited by Julie in MN
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My guess is that Julie said everything I am going to say. So, I’m just going to type anyway.


Does your cover school assign number grades with letters such as 94-100 is an A? If so, most of the work is done. My umbrella school we turn in letters or numbers. I do letters sorta based on numbers.



There are no “formal†tests in Bible, History of English, but there are graded assignments. So it’s not that big of a deal.

If you came away from the phone call thinking that it is all subjective based on discussion, then I think the rep you spoke too may have not explained it as well as he could have. There are plenty of objective assignments too.


((it's going to be easy when you start)) it's been an easy transition.


Bible – we did this as class participation and effort and “on timeâ€. In other words, yes, this was an easy, gimme an A. and no, I’m not worried about that. Yes, in some ways this is based on informal discussion. But you could easily do as Julie lists for her subjective feel on A, B or C. Did the student do the work, did the student write some answers from Old Testament Challenge. Participate in service projects. (I figure if I got an A in PE class in my high school just for showing up, being there, dressed, showered and on time....)


History. Oh goodie, Julie linked to the sample where you can see the breakdown of percentages. Again, it’s based on essays and other graded work. But not “fill in the blank, multiple guess testsâ€. Before someone suggests the Notgrass "tests", that doesn't work as well in MFW proggram AHL due to the way the program is ordered chronologically. So, don't try to use those tests for grade. (now Notgrass quarterly test #3 works just fine and dandy in WHL week 25 even though it is not assigned. "Mom.. can I just do this test instead of cleaning my room?" LOL) but I digress...



English – same thing. There are writing rubrics in the program for those essays and other writing assignments.


And looks like Julie found an old post of mine on mfw’s board with more details. I wonder if I still believe that stuff. Yep. Looks good enough. I originally wrote those suggestions when we were in week 7 of AHL. We’re in week 26 of WHL now.


Hm… somewhere around here I mentioned how I took the essay rubrics.

Basically, there were about 14 or 15 check points. I assigned each check point a value of either 0 (didn’t do) or 1 (good to average) or 2 (excelled on this point, and/or really showed improvement from draft to final). Then, from that it was a raw score. Let say 30 was top… then I scaled it down to A’s and B’s… I’m like Julie in a lot of ways with grades – D and F isn’t going to happen, because I work and tutor.


So really then I think it’s only Bible that is subjective. I figure she’s reading every day or at least more consistent than I do. She has good answers. She is able to talk about the material. She participates in missions projects and trips and student leadership at church. She had a great answer on Facebook the other day with her youth pastor about the meaning a section of scripture. I was laughing hysterically. “Well, Brad, you know how you’ve always said to look at the context and not just a verse… I think in context Paul is saying …..†Now, why wouldn’t I give her an A in Bible for the year?


It’s going to be fine. ((hugs)) It really has been easy to do this grading stuff in MFW. So much of writing is subjective and is more about improving from draft to final....



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Thank you, Julie and Crystal!!!!


I've only just read your posts this morning. Now I'm going to savor the links.


Crystal, my home school covering is on a 10 point scale: 90-100 is an A; 80-89, a B; etc... They want exact averages for each subject, and we turn in grades 3 times a year. For example, they want to know that dd's average in history, for example, was 92-A.


I really appreciate the help both of you give concerning MFW. I am excited about using it. The way MFW has organized their 4-year plan has really helped me see that high school at home is doable... a big stress-reliever.

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