Grading Practices for a More Balanced Classroom
How exploring new and different grading practices can help students focus more on learning and less on grades.
We all learn at our own pace. For the students in your classroom, this could mean anything from delayed understanding of topics or struggling through a particular lesson to excelling and outpacing those around them. As students grow and learn throughout the year, their grades may not accurately reflect their level of understanding. For example, a student who initially struggles through a lesson and receives a low grade may come to have the same understanding as the A+ student by the end of a semester, but their grade won’t reflect that.
If you’re looking to focus your classroom on growth, then a rigid grading style may be one of the things holding your students back. By reevaluating how you grade, you may be able to level the playing field for those learning at a slower pace and create a space where students feel safe to fail, learn, and try again. Here are some ways to change the way you grade and create a more equitable classroom:
- Offer score adjustments. Has a student come to master a concept they struggled with early on? Give the option to re-assess. Giving students a chance to turn a failing grade into a passing one can make a big difference when averaging scores over time.
- Grade on more than content understanding. Test scores and projects can weigh heavily on a grade book, so give your students grades for more than just exhibiting their understanding. Grade on things like classroom participation, timeliness, and completion of work.
- Stop giving zeros. Zeros can destroy a student’s overall average. Creating a “failing floor” at 50 allows failing students to still save their average over the course of the year.
For more on grading practices, check out these articles:
- 3 Grading Practices That Should Change
- Starting the Conversation About Alternative Grading Systems
- The Case Against Zeros in Grading
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