Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

pgr

How did you come up with a grading system?

Recommended Posts

Ok, please help. Even after reading the “motherload” high school help posts and searching extensively, I’m still completely flummoxed by grading.

I’ve not given grades until now, but have done annual testing. DD13 is very motivated by external evaluation (and currently taking one online course that is graded), perhaps too much. With the necessity for grading and transcripts in HS, I’d prefer to give just semester grades to keep her focus on mastery of the material, and not the grade. That seems doable? What about essays in Language Arts and History? We've been doing outlining and written narrations thus far, and I plan for more analysis.

At the same time, I can’t wrap my head around how to actually grade if there aren’t quizzes/tests/etc. For example, she’s currently working through AOPS. She tends to be very distractible and can make a lot of careless mistakes. However, we check all the problems, and she goes back and corrects and/or works through the answer book if she doesn’t see what she’s done incorrectly. We don’t move forward until we’re both confident she got it. How do I assign a grade? If it’s for first check, initial number correct, it would often be a “C”. But overall she’s gifted and advanced in math, and mastery is very high. Her IOWA test scores are also consistently high.

Other than trying to help her focus to avoid sloppy miscalculations in math specifically, which is really not the question, how does one give a grade overall mastery and understanding in any subject? Wouldn’t the student end up with all “A”s? 

I don't know why I find it all so confusing, but I just can't figure out a system.... Halp?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only grade tests.  If it's a class where I don't do tests, then I grade something else or I give A for effort.  PE?  A.  Theatre?  A.  English?  I take grades on vocab tests and final drafts of papers.  Math?  I use Mathusee which comes with tests.  I take grades on those.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't typically give tests that resemble ps tests. My assessments are more based on essays and oral type exams. We also work to mastery. I state as much in their course descriptions and school profile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both! All that makes sense. I'll have to figure out how to grade AOPS; I'm certainly not the first one using it for HS! 😛

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grade all sorts of ways!  I even kn tend to change some grading for different kids based their motivation 

Math- this grade is based pretty much on test scores only for my oldest.  Her test scores are all high 90s.  For my second, I plan to weight the tests heavily, but also give credit for homework completed and keeping a notebook.  These grades won't be much of the overall gradd, but will keep her motivated. 

English- I've used OM thd last 2 years for my oldest.  I have found that what works best is to go through and list every assignment, and award points accor ding to the length of each.  For example a 1 paragraph answer may be worth 5 points, a one page paper 15 points, a discussion 10 points.... snd essays are all 100 points each.  

History -  same as English,  I sometimes weight tests,  and essays are worth 50 or 100 points. 

Science - this I broke into 3 sections- daily work, tests,  and labs.  I think I weighted it tests 50% of the grade, daily work and labs 25%each.

Art, PE, Drama, ect.  I just give a letter grade for completion.  An A.  We don't have many classes like this, I do have a course discription, but there aren't a lot of things to really give points for.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! I think part of my problem is that, other than science (which will be with WHA), we won't be using anything that has built-in assignments/tests/etc. We're planning for reading and discussion in History, and Literature/Language arts corresponding with the historical time-period she's studying. Naturally, she will write essays, and it seems that is all that I'll be grading?... 

AOPS does not have tests and she tends to make a lot of sloppy mistakes on the first work through of a chapter, with few remaining questions or mistakes after re-working incorrect answers. So an A with mastery if she continues with the same pattern?

Spanish is with Duolingo. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been a classroom high school teacher and now I have high schoolers at home. The way that I give grades in my homeschool is radically different than when I was a classroom teacher.

In the classroom, you have to have a clear system and specific rules. And you can't work with kids ad infinitem until they get it. It's just not realistically workable. Students need to understand what the system is, the feedback and goalposts and deadlines all have to be clear. There needs to be a specific calculation. Every paper and project needs a clear rubric. Tests need a clear scale.

Honestly, at home, I don't do all those things all the time. I do make sure that they understand expectations, that they see rubrics for writing, etc. But it's not like I'm sitting here with percentages and calculating tons of grades. If my kids do a cruddy job on something, I just make them redo it. It has taken all year for BalletBoy to get to the point where he doesn't have to redo the history short essay questions every single time. In the classroom, would that have hurt him? I guess? But also, I would have structured that differently. At home, I can give an assignment that's harder knowing that part of the process will be having to redo it. And I can still shuffle everything around. Ahead of schedule in math, but struggling with literature? We'll pause math and dive in with lit until you've got it, even if it takes re-writing the essay several times.

I also am counting some things differently. Like, for electives, I'm not really evaluating much output beyond checking in that they're doing it. My kids are in ungraded yearlong co-op classes, I'm just letting it be an A and a half credit. They're doing some Great Courses stuff for one of those to round it out to be a full credit. I'm not requiring anything else from that. For science, they're struggling a little with the self-graded, self-paced thing they're doing, but I'm grading the labs and lab reports from the totally separate experiment kit. Plus, I'm having them do a project. I get to decide how to weight each element of the total course. This would be true in school too - different teachers have slightly different systems. Some give tons of quizzes, others don't give any.

Edited by Farrar
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/12/2019 at 2:18 PM, pgr said:

Thank you both! All that makes sense. I'll have to figure out how to grade AOPS; I'm certainly not the first one using it for HS! 😛

Have you considered enrolling your DD in AoPS' online courses? When my DS1 first did AoPS it was self-study (pre-Alg) and sometimes high stress for him ("how would a teacher grade this if I were in school?") and me ("uhhh...some would grade it this way, others might grade it that way..."). 

Switching to AoPS courses was one of the best homeschool decisions we ever made. Worth every penny. Outside instructor, etc. works like a charm for him. Same with DS2 now. There are moments when DS2 worries that if he doesn't get a problem right this next time his overall weekly score won't be as good, but that just makes him focus more on checking his answer before submitting it. Win-win. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol - didn't realize I'd never posted here. You can see how passionately I feel about the value of AoPS online courses. 😂

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, 3gemmama said:

Lol - didn't realize I'd never posted here. You can see how passionately I feel about the value of AoPS online courses. 😂

 

As an AoPS instructor, I like your suggestion ;-). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, 3gemmama said:

Have you considered enrolling your DD in AoPS' online courses? When my DS1 first did AoPS it was self-study (pre-Alg) and sometimes high stress for him ("how would a teacher grade this if I were in school?") and me ("uhhh...some would grade it this way, others might grade it that way..."). 

Switching to AoPS courses was one of the best homeschool decisions we ever made. Worth every penny. Outside instructor, etc. works like a charm for him. Same with DS2 now. There are moments when DS2 worries that if he doesn't get a problem right this next time his overall weekly score won't be as good, but that just makes him focus more on checking his answer before submitting it. Win-win. 

Thank you for this input! (And I'm honored that this is your first post! 😄) My hesitation is that the fast pace of the online courses (my subjective impression based on comments from others) will be too much for our schedule - we've already committed to two online courses (and all three have dance class several times a week) - and her personality. While she's very strong in math, and we've considered it, I think this is the one subject that outside scoring would cause enough stress to be counterproductive. Still, it's worth considering - thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I teach to mastery. I do not see any value in my student moving on to the next concept with C level knowledge. So, my kids worked until they showed that they were ready for their comprehensive end-of-semester exam in math. Which I expect them to pass with an A. So yes, they would have As - because anything less would require them to revisit and restudy the concepts they had missed.

I designed my own exams that tested exactly what I expected them to have mastered to long term retention, not some obscure facts&tricks I consider nonessential.

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

Richard R. states that because AOPS is so challenging, 70 percent is considered an A.  

 

You know, the online class grading doesn’t support this statement although I have read this as well. Blue bar is an A in AoPS class and it takes a lot more than 70% to get it blue. 

I am not saying this to argue for a higher percentage. It’s just my observation from the classes. 

I agree with Regentrude. Teach to mastery and write exams.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

 

You know, the online class grading doesn’t support this statement although I have read this as well. Blue bar is an A in AoPS class and it takes a lot more than 70% to get it blue. 

I am not saying this to argue for a higher percentage. It’s just my observation from the classes. 

I agree with Regentrude. Teach to mastery and write exams.

True -- I never did the percentages on the class.  I just figured if I assigned the book with all the problems, I would go with 70% since there are SO many more problems if you're using the book vs. the class.  Luckily I haven't had to worry about that since Intro to Alg A, as ds has preferred the class to working through the book himself. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For history, I graded my kids notes and discussions, and also had them write papers. Some years we used tests, and other years not.  If they did poorly on the test, I let them earn those points if they have the answer in their notes. My goal with that was to help them learn how to take good notes.  If not though, they had to redo the test. I didn’t grade discussions daily, just an overall impression—like a class participation kind of grade. But sometimes I also considered our discussions to be kind of like an oral test and weighted them more in those cases. In English, they got grades for papers and also for daily work like summaries and shorter writings.Discussions on our readings also factored in

In science  they got grades on daily work, lab reports, and tests. In the first 2 to 3 years of high school, I did let them retake tests that they did poorly on. My goal in those years was for them to learn how to study as well as to master the material. Sometimes I had them redo a study guide, or go back through the book to find the answers.  As they progressed in high school though, I only let them earn back half the points for correcting answers, and eventually let test grades stand. I still had them find the answers and make sure they learned the material, but at some point it’s important for kids to understand how tests will work in college.  They may have other opportunities for earning points, but test grades stand, and they need to learn the material and learn how not to make careless errors. So I used high school to scaffold them towards better test taking skills and habits.  If you have a kid who is probably going to earn some B’s and maybe even a C or two in college, I don’t really see how it helps if they’ve never experienced that grade already. But I also didn’t want to be hard-core first thing freshman year in high school. I wanted to help them learn good skills.  I also wanted them to have other opportunities for bringing up an overall grade the way they might have in a public high school and even in college, so I tried to provide those opportunities as well. 

Hth some as you think through grading and also teaching strategies.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like to have a lot of grades because I like more assessment along the way in a course. I think it helps me know they are ready for a test by the time we get to it. My dh teaches public school, and he says he'll easily have 30-35 grades for a course.  

I chose to use the same grading scale as the local high schools. 

A = 90-10   B = 80-89  C=73-79   D=70-72  F=69 and below

For most subjects I count grades this way:

Tests 1/2 of grade;  Quizzes 1/3 of grade;  Other assignments of less importance 1/6 of grade (Some assignments, such as projects or writing assignments will fall as quiz or test grades, depending on the assignment's depth or length.)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm feeling like the only unschooler among everyone here.  🙂  I never gave grades and never considered grading anything, ever. There were three reasons for this. 1) I just wanted to teach the love of learning and was very unstructured in my approach to the point of no clear cut courses even in high school, 2) NZ is an exam based entrance university system, so homeschool courses would NOT count for anything so there was no reason to give grades, and 3) he did not decide to apply to American universities until April of his Junior year.  So as I went into making an American style transcript of our homeschool journey, I had to both create courses from what he read and wrote about, and I had to create grades out of thin air for courses that were years in the past. I will always remember the generosity of some members on this board for taking the time to sort through my often belabored descriptions of what we had studied over the prior 3 years, make sense of it, and recommend how to organize it into courses that admissions folk would understand. 

Basically for grades, I retro-fitted what seemed appropriate given all his standardized testing.

1) Excellences in NZ national math exams, NZ IMO math team for 3 years = all prior math courses earned As

2) Excellences in NZ national writing exams, 780 in SAT verbal, 20 on SAT essay = all prior English and humanities style writing courses earned As

3) Excellences in NZ national physics and chemistry exams = all prior Science courses (including Bio) earned As

4) ABRSM distinctions on music exams - all prior music courses earned As

5) Courses created from his 3000+ hours of reading (Contemporary World Problems, Philosophy, Comparative Government, World History, and Economics) -- All As because he put in way more hours than required for a standard Carnegie credit and read content above high school level (War and Peace, Capital, Godel Esher and Bach, etc).  I made it very clear in my course descriptions that grades were based on readings and discussion (no output whatsoever for 2 of them (stated clearly on course descriptions), and for 3 of them that had a small amount of writing, grades were also based off the of the composition exams he took #2 above).

Basically, they required grades, and I had none. I did what I could to make clear the effort put forth and the knowledge and skills learned, and I made this clear in the only way they could understand which was grades. No school questioned the grades I gave. My counselor's letter discussed how these unstructured courses emerged over time through his own interests. 

Hope this helps,

Ruth in NZ

ETA: I included Regentrude's approach of high mastery = A (down to F of unsatisfactory) on the transcript in the grading box. 

 

Edited by lewelma
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for all the replies! I'm sorry to have disappeared - had a bit of a health crisis...

On 3/16/2019 at 1:41 AM, lewelma said:

I'm feeling like the only unschooler among everyone here.  🙂  I never gave grades and never considered grading anything, ever.

Ruth, I'm definitely a "classical unschooler"! 

It seems documentation and accompanying explanation are everything. Thank you all so very much for the input!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On March 16, 2019 at 1:41 AM, lewelma said:

I'm feeling like the only unschooler among everyone here.  🙂  I never gave grades and never considered grading anything, ever. There were three reasons for this. 1) I just wanted to teach the love of learning and was very unstructured in my approach to the point of no clear cut courses even in high school, 2) NZ is an exam based entrance university system, so homeschool courses would NOT count for anything so there was no reason to give grades, and 3) he did not decide to apply to American universities until April of his Junior year.  So as I went into making an American style transcript of our homeschool journey, I had to both create courses from what he read and wrote about, and I had to create grades out of thin air for courses that were years in the past. I will always remember the generosity of some members on this board for taking the time to sort through my often belabored descriptions of what we had studied over the prior 3 years, make sense of it, and recommend how to organize it into courses that admissions folk would understand. 

Basically for grades, I retro-fitted what seemed appropriate given all his standardized testing.

1) Excellences in NZ national math exams, NZ IMO math team for 3 years = all prior math courses earned As

2) Excellences in NZ national writing exams, 780 in SAT verbal, 20 on SAT essay = all prior English and humanities style writing courses earned As

3) Excellences in NZ national physics and chemistry exams = all prior Science courses (including Bio) earned As

4) ABRSM distinctions on music exams - all prior music courses earned As

5) Courses created from his 3000+ hours of reading (Contemporary World Problems, Philosophy, Comparative Government, World History, and Economics) -- All As because he put in way more hours than required for a standard Carnegie credit and read content above high school level (War and Peace, Capital, Godel Esher and Bach, etc).  I made it very clear in my course descriptions that grades were based on readings and discussion (no output whatsoever for 2 of them (stated clearly on course descriptions), and for 3 of them that had a small amount of writing, grades were also based off the of the composition exams he took #2 above).

Basically, they required grades, and I had none. I did what I could to make clear the effort put forth and the knowledge and skills learned, and I made this clear in the only way they could understand which was grades. No school questioned the grades I gave. My counselor's letter discussed how these unstructured courses emerged over time through his own interests. 

Hope this helps,

Ruth in NZ

ETA: I included Regentrude's approach of high mastery = A (down to F of unsatisfactory) on the transcript in the grading box. 

 

 

I really like this approach. If we wind up homeschooling for high school (and since she'd 6.5, who knows? :P) I can imagine going with this kind of method. For me, the most important thing is retaining love of learning and ability to learn... 

Edited by square_25
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, square_25 said:

If we wind up homeschooling for high school (and since she'd 6.5, who knows? :P) I can imagine going with this kind of method. For me, the most important thing is retaining love of learning and ability to learn... 

I like this approach also, and I've gotten a lot of good advice from lewelma's posts over the years. My dc, however missed the message and are not, at this point, poised to earn "excellents" anywhere (they get this from me, I imagine). I still remember giving a pep talk before a piano recital and one of them turning to me and saying, "Mom, no one expects our piece to be perfect!" Me: "Um. I think your teacher might be hoping for that..." Anyway, as we approach high school my hopes of self-directed students poring over an in-depth hobby or academic interest are fading and I find myself talking notes on possible grading schemes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/15/2019 at 12:45 PM, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

Richard R. states that because AOPS is so challenging, 70 percent is considered an A.  

I've heard the same thing. Also, there is a huge difference between getting the non-starred, non-challenge problems correct and getting the harder ones correct. For some of my kids, I expect them to work through every challenge problem. Others I think they could skip the challenge and still get an A. I work toward mastery of understanding - this may take more than one pass through the material, but will result in A level work at the end.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...