I hate grading! I wish that I could just learn in partnership with my students. I wish that we could connect and contribute in the global world of authentic learning, and that I would never again have to put a grade in the grade book. That’s my hope for an ideal world, and maybe a transformed educational system.
However, today, I still need to record grades. On some level, I must “grade” students’ participation in the Young Writer’s Program of National Novel Writing Month. Here is what I do for grading.
First of all, if I have a student who is having a hard time getting started or becoming engaged, I have numerous individual conferences with him. Once he gets going, then we are both happy.
Next, I have benchmarks that students meet. Each of these are graded, about one a week.
- Their profile on the Virtual Classroom is graded for completeness and engagement. They should have an avatar and answer the questions. What I mean by engagement: Are they making their profile interesting to those who have to read it? Do they go in and revise it after the first day?
- An interesting novel excerpt is proofread and posted on their profile novel information. This may be the best-written passage of their novel and is usually 300 words or less.
- By about the second or third week, I expect a good, proofread synopsis of their novel. Even if they don’t know the ending, they can still write a good book talk about it, something they might use to add to the back cover someday.
Finally, this year, because each student made a goal that I approved, I will also record a small grade based on whether they reach their goal. Remember, this has to be done lightly and not a major grade because really, you aren’t going to be able to know right away if they copied and re-pasted a couple thousand words into the center at the last minute. I would much rather they have an authentic noveling experience than just fake it to get a grade on an inflated assignment.
That’s about it. I record only four grades in the grade book for the month of November, and almost everyone gets a good grade.
Revising and editing is another topic, which proves a little harder. But that’s not for November.