August 22, 2006

Thoughts on Methods…

Posted in grad school, grading at 7:12 pm by mrsmauck

So my Methods class met for the third time yesterday, and we had a kind of roundabout discussion about memorable teachers, extra credit, and finally, grading. The prof said she sees so many high school students in her lower-level Humanities course who think they’ve turned in an A paper, when in reality, it’s a C. The high school grading system is so inflated that students who just meet the baseline objectives are being awarded A’s. Kids who turn in work–no matter how terrible it is–can’t be given lower than a 50 in many cases, my prof said.

My solution to this problem: Rubrics! Kids will know exactly what is required of them for all major assignments, because they’ll have a rubric with each component of the project or paper measured on a 1 to 5 scale, each number representing a specific level of quality, which is described on the rubric. Will this curb grade inflation? What do you do to combat students’ attitudes of entitlement when it comes to grades?

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1 Comment »

  1. Anonymous said,

    Rubrics don’t work like you’d think they work. Many of the kids don’t actually read them, and even assuming all of them do, the majority of them will not write the paper using the rubric as a guide.

    I suppose you could remedy this by putting strong emphasis on the rubric as well as going through it, elaborating on each and every point.

    The bottom line is, most kids just want to get the paper done with the best work:grade ratio. Only when they are inspired will they rise to the standards and become enthusiastic. Hate to be trite but – good teachers explain, great teachers inspire.

    On grade inflation. Keep high standards, maybe even as high as you would expect from yourself, or possibly beyond. If the students get upset, calmly explain in *private* why they got the grade they did, and help them by offering to go over it in detail after school, or whenever you have free time. You shouldn’t be doing any “combating”, rather it should be coaxing.

    Although if you decide to compromise your integrity as an educator and take the the role as the “self-esteem” boosting life coach, at least try what this Harvard professor did.

    “I am giving each student two grades: one for the registrar and the public record, and the other in private. “

    http://chronicle.com/free/v47/i30/30b02401.htm

    Although this still perpetuates grade inflation as well as the myth that grades has a direct correlation to “self-esteem”.


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