Emphasize Learning

Should students be rewarded for being friendly, prepared, compliant, a good school citizen, well organized and hard-working? Or should good grades represent exclusively a student’s mastery of the material? from The New York Times The article that quotation comes from is spot on, but in a scary way.  The author, Peg Tyre, nails some of […]

The Indistinction Between Summative and Formative

Confusing half-truths: Summative assessment counts towards your grades, but formative doesn’t You change your teaching based on formative assessment but not summative Summative assessments are formal but formative assessments are informal There’s a confusion that causes stress when grades are involved.  Grades are supposed to: Tell students where they stand in the class. For me, […]

Active Grading: Comparison

Active grading means: Emphasizing the learning that grades represent, and trying to avoid holding grades as the final product of education. Allowing students to react to their grades. Grades are the beginning of a conversation, not the end. Helping students to understand their grades by organizing them into topics (vanilla SBG). Actively keeping students informed […]

Announcing ActiveGrade!

Hey Y’all, This year I’ve been working with a partner on developing a piece of grade-reporting software that we’re calling ActiveGrade. Here’s why: There’s a lot more that software can do to help make grades understandable and meaningful.  I think grades should be the start of a conversation between students and teachers, and so one […]

Which Active Grading Scheme is Best?

Active SBG means: Emphasizing the learning that grades represent, and trying to avoid holding grades as the final product of education. Allowing students to react to their grades. Grades are the beginning of a conversation, not the end. Helping students to understand their grades by organizing them into topics (vanilla SBG). Actively keeping students informed […]

Letting Go of the Past

I’d like to give my students as many chances to learn as possible.  When they’re interested, I’d like to sit with them forever.  Unfortunately, there are some pretty significant logistical obstacles here. Almost everyone who disagreed with my automated debater for SBG+ (+remediation, +forgiveness of earlier scores, +timely & empowering reporting) disliked the idea of […]

Specificity is Good. Right?

A central tenet of standards-based grading is that specificity is a good quality of feedback.  For example, “Timmy has an 50% in spelling and 100% in grammar” is better than “Timmy has a 75% in English” because the latter is less specific.  The relationship can’t hold forever, though.  Do we want this as part of our […]