You’ll have to forgive me on this last post of my series on grading. As much as I want to spill everything I know on process grading and daily work, I have to be brief. Manfriend and I put an offer on a house last night which means at any given moment, I will get a call which means we have THREE days to prep our house for sale. (Probably should have started finishing little projects when we started looking).
That said, I am excited to talk about Grading Hack #5: Process Grading and Daily Work.
I’m going to start with a truth that becomes more obvious as the years go on: You can’t grade everything. As a first year teacher, I was convinced that the only way to motivate kids was to assign points to something. Time has taught me otherwise. Now, I am convinced that if I am able to grade everything my kids hand in, they simple aren’t doing enough – especially with writing.
However, I teach AP students, and if you do, you know how driven they are by grades and points. It’s a constant stream of “Is this on the test?” and “When is this due?” [Side note: As I care less and less about points and deadlines, the constraints of grading become as philosophically demanding as the actual scoring.]
For the last two years, I have adopted a method of managing daily work that has kept my grading very manageable, and as a bonus, kept students organized and provided additional resources. Its my hybrid between the all-powerful binder and an interactive notebook.
Each year, my students are asked to bring a binder with page dividers by the end of the first week. I provide them a set of what I call the “Yellow Pages” - which I “borrowed” from another AP teacher. This includes general resources like AP Free Response Question overviews, sentence models, and their progress monitoring form. In addition to these pages, I ask students to put loose leaf paper in the back.
Every handout I give them is hole punched so they can collect all the materials in their binder, and the loose leaf is used for writing practice and daily work.
Pretty simple, really. The binders stay in the room when possible so that things do not get lost (as often…). Every so often (maybe once a month, every other week, etc), I tell students four daily work activities or handouts that I want to check in their binder. It takes about 10 minutes (usually during reading time) for me to swing around the room checking off the student’s work. I know class time is precious, but it really does take less than 10 minutes, even with 30 students.
In essence, its just a quick check for completion using the method. If I want to actually assess work, I will do a check outside of class providing feedback. I have also – at times – allowed students to pick one of the four drafts to submit for a grade. In other words, the assessment of material is flexible depending on whether I need to deeply analyze student work or just check that they are on track.
The added bonus of this organization system is that students never know what is going to be checked until the day before. They are motivated to participate in all activities as they are unsure which will be connected to their grade. Then, the day before, they can go back and add detail to those which will be assessed.
And that's what I have time for. (Sorry!). Short. Sweet. Time-Saving!