I’ve decided I REALLY like my grading system. I think parents and students like it also. It takes some getting used to because it’s different than what they’re used to, but I believe it gives the best picture of WHAT a student KNOWS. And the students and their parents like that it gives students room to continue learning and growing with specific learning targets. As such, retakes are an essential part of this process.
I use a slight variation of Sarah Hagan’s “A, B, Not Yet” rubric scoring system (read about it here and here). I started out using B also, but changed it to C mid year, because C to me means “average”. I like color-coding, so students’ folders have a list of learning targets pasted to the front. That’s where I mark their scores.
These learning targets are the assignment names I enter into our online grading program. “NY” translates to 55%, “C” translates to 75%, and “A” translates to 100%. I also record homework, but as credit/no credit so that the real weight of a student’s grades lies on the learning targets. These learning targets are flexible and can improve all the way up until the end of the quarter, provided the student practices the concepts and either requests a retake, or (if I include those concepts) shows improvement on the next quiz.
I prefer this grading system to what I’ve done in the past (recording assignments and tests as points correct out of a total) because I can look at their grades and get an accurate picture of how a student is learning in my class without necessarily keeping a portfolio. I’ve also come to believe that points correct out of a total and recording homework grades with more weight is more a measure of a student’s work ethic, organizational skills, and behavior than of their actual learning. (I can thank Rick Wormeli and his book “Fair Isn’t Always Equal” for that–and the many discussions I’ve participated in on Twitter).
I’ll probably continue tweaking this process, but for now I’m fairly pleased with the results.