As I started looking for ideas regarding not grading homework I found the idea of standards based grading, or SBG. I read a lot about it and really liked it for one main reason: It focuses on what the students need to learn.
Right now a student will come in to retake “test 10” but they don’t really know what was on the test. Their focus is fix the test score, not fix the concept I don’t get. Most of my classes use a Saxon text book, so we test every 5 lessons, and they are all cumulative. I also know what concept each test question covers. It would make listing grades by standards pretty easy! If I would have had time to do all that during the break… so that’s in the plan for summer.
I am already tracking concepts in a different way though. Before I ever read anything about SBG. I made a chart where each student can see what lesson each question on a test comes from. Looking at the grid we can track their progress over time. We can look to see if they are missing the same types of questions. We can look to see if it’s normal for them to miss a type of question a time or two before catching on.
I have once class however that is NOT using Saxon. We are using this: mathematicsvisionproject.org. The first semester we got through most of the first 4 modules. Wrapping up the 4th now. Then 4 more for the rest of the year. Last semester I gave a test at the end of each module. All cumulative, but mostly focusing on newer learning.
Changes for this semester: I went through our state standards (Common Core) and the list for what 9th graders are expected to learn. Utah is keeping the secondary math integrated, which I love. No separate Geometry, Algebra, pre-Calc, etc.
I mapped out what which of the state standards we’ve already learned and what we still have to learn – then summarized it into about 30 learning goals for each of the next two terms.
They aren’t turning homework in, just like my other classes aren’t. Grade is based on assessments, which will be more frequent (once to twice per week) and smaller, 1-5 learning goals on each one instead of an entire unit.
The gradebook will report their progress on each learning goal.
The students are a little confused still. I think it will make more sense when they see what it looks like in the grade book. I’m going over it all again on Friday. I also have a chart for them to keep track of their own learning. I think I’m going to have a folder for them to keep in class for the chart… the group of kids I have this year looses things easily. They are hard to motivate, easily distracted, and unorganized. Not all of them, just about half the class, enough to create chaos sometimes 🙂 Love them all, but they are the hardest class I’ve ever had.