“What does it mean to earn an 80% in a Geometry class?”

Brandon’s got a problem:

My school has recently begun an inquiry about how we assess. I have been struggling through the process for a number of reasons. I struggle most with trying to break away from assessing how I’ve been assessed.

 

He considers the possibility of grading based entirely on knowledge, but struggles with it:

And what of work ethic? If a student is really trying, improving, busting her ass on every assignment but still only masters 79% of the material, we give her a C. That somehow feels cold and unfair. But standards/objectives-based grading would imply that she earned exactly that grade.

He concludes:

I’m still at a loss for how I want to approach grading philosophically. I had a great professor at Baylor tell me that he did not want to give out any grades, but write two sentences about each student. I think that mindset is powerful, but rarely feasible. Maybe I’m approaching this the wrong way and equivocating grading with assessment. I would love to know some other math teachers’ (or just teachers) thoughts on this particular model.

Go leave your thoughts here.

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