In my 15 years of teaching, I've always given my students a set of grading criteria so they could see the criteria I use to assess work as deserving different grades.Grading on factors besides 'end products' (attitudes, behaviors, etc.) has attracted our interest before here at ISW (Chris on "comportment," Mike on in-class behavior, me on pass/fail writing assignments). I've got my own thoughts on Jennifer's proposal and question, but do other readers have some thoughts as to how much 'effort' should count, if it is to count at all?
After reading a significant amount about the perils of grading performance (namely that students focus on performing well instead of learning and in so focusing become very risk averse). One idea I'm toying with (because some folks I respect have used it) is to grade students based on effort (and I'll give them a set of what I take to be indicative of A effort throughout the semester, B effort, etc. and also give them an opportunity a number of times to make the case to me that they are putting in X amount of effort).
My question, then, is if students belong in a class (i.e., aren't in a class too difficult for them) what minimum grade should they be able to get in the course with 100% effort assuming that the teacher is doing a good job teaching. That is,if a student puts in 100% effort (rewriting, working with teacher, working with classmates outside of class, pays attention to and works with comments, etc) and gets less, say, than an A (or B?) is this grade an indication that the teacher is failing?
Put another way, what grade, minimum (if any), would be reasonable to guarantee a student if the student can demonstrate putting in 100% effort (however one might choose to measure it).
Put yet another way, assuming the teacher isn't at fault, at what point is a certain grade due to the student not putting in the effort and to what extent is it due to something else (since I don't really believe in 'raw ability' much I don't know what that something else might be but others may have a good case for 'raw ability' - and then there's the question of whether it's fair to grade based on 'raw ability' but then we've moved to a different concern)
The motivation in all of this is to enhance student learning and, thus, performance in the long run with the logic being that grading performance does not, in fact, enhance performance in the long run.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Reader query: Evaluating student effort
ISW reader Jennifer McCrickerd offers the following query about the 'grading ceiling' if students are graded by effort: