What are some good grading practices as far as decided how much homework should be graded? I struggle with entering homework as something that contributes to overall grade because it does not necessarly indicate the learning that has been done; it is just practice. On the other side of that, I don't want to grade only assessments because some students are just poor test-takers and I would not want to punish those who do the homework but do poorly on tests. Does anyone do standards-based grading?
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I definitely graded homework. If I didn't, my students would never do it. They need that practice even though it is not necessarily evidence of learning like other assessments might be. Some homework assignments were graded based on completion and some were check over for correctness. I did not usually allow students to correct their homework for credit because we went over the answers in class. They were able to see what mistakes they made but I did not offer credit for correction because that was counted as part of the class participation for the day. I did not count it as much as other assignments. I weighted my grades so that some assignments counted more than others. Homework was about 10-15%. A student who did not do any homework would suffer in their grade but not to such a degree that they couldn't make up for it with other assignments. A student who did not test well or did not perform well on other assignments could make up for it with correctly completed homework assignments. Often these assignments fed into other activities in class so it was important that they complete the assignments.
My school's grading policy is that homework cannot count for more than 20% of the class grade, and assessments have to make up 80% or more of the grade. Assessments can include projects, papers, and presentations as well as tests and quizzes.The theory is that homework is formative and is necessary for learning, so we count it enough to encourage students to do it, but that their final grade should be a real reflection of what they have learned to do, and that information comes from how they do on assessments.
Some classes and topics create more homework than others, so in a class where there is a lot of homework - chemistry, for example - I do not grade it all, I spot check it. Students never know what is going to be graded and what is not, so the burden is on them to do it. However when I pass out a paper that is a repetitive drill type assignment, I will tell the class that that's what it is. If a student can run through the first five or six problems quickly and with no issues, they are not expected to do all twenty problems just because they are there. Students who need more practice to feel secure in their learning are expected to do more of the problems. Of course, these are high school juniors and seniors, and I am expecting them to be developing some level of responsibility along the way. In general, it works well, once they understand where I am coming from.
I consider effort and participation to be as important as brains in my class. I do not designate anything in my high school classes as "homework," personally, but as a literature and writing teacher, there isn't much "skill building" as there is in math, or even in language arts of elementary and middle school grades.
I grade everything equally, using a cumulative grading system. Every point in my class has the same weight, but daily assignments are only given 10 points while tests and projects might have 100+ points.
This way, students who participate regularly in class and work hard to accomplish daily tasks, but perhaps struggle through exams, are still given a lot of credit for their daily effort. Likewise, students who refuse to complete assignments during class (or after) believing they know everything and can pass a test, will have their lack of effort reflected in their grades.
But my emphasis is on teaching and training students how to process information, discuss ideas, and think. I do not put a lot of emphasis on busy work or homework for the sake of homework.
I give a completion grade for homework and weight it only 20% of the grade, with assessments worth the other 80%. I respond to everything that is turned in, but don't necessarily "grade" it -- I try to use it as practice and reinforcement, so they are more likely to do their own work if they are confident they will earn some credit for it -- there isn't much reason to cheat, and I don't give many "cheatable" assignments -- mostly personal response writing or personal choice literary device analysis from whatever text we are reading.
I don't give a lot of homework, as the tendency for students to cheat has become overwhelmingly obvious and it just turns into a waste of everyone's time. The homework I do assign is usually writing on prompts and questions I have come up with for specific class lessons and discussions, so cheating is less likely. Of the homework I do give, I grade all of it.
It is too easy for people not to do any homework. Moreover, homework is central, because it reinforces learning and enables students to see where there are weak. So, if we grade homework and make it something like 10% of the overall grade, then it will make the students to take homework seriously. Also I believe that lots of little quizzes can help in keeping students on their toes.
I grade some homework, give credit for completing some homework, and go over other homework in class, allowing students to correct it. I try not to give homework more than a couple times per week, because many students--no matter how it affects their grade--absolutely will not do it or complete it on time. In the long run, it usually reduces a student's grade more than it helps, though I think the practice and learning experience from completing work at home is beneficial to students.
I don't grade homework because it's not evidence of learning. I do it all by assessments, but I make sure to have multiple assessments. In other words, I have lots of small quizzes and such so that the people who don't do well on tests can get decent grades without my having to give grades for something that I don't see as valuable.
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