Grading & Other Dumb Ideas

At my school, grades are due to “the office” every two weeks.  On the one hand I appreciate the accountability of turning in a landmark to help guide kids, but on the other hand I see it as a real imposition on their success.  Our three term grades are given as follows:

the average of…

  • Quarter 1
  • quarter 2
  • quarter 3, and
  • quarter 4, and
  • The term final exam.

So no matter how much progress you make in the last two quarters, your first two quarters can still sink you.  And if you’re a bad test-taker, you get thumped three-fold.  In many ways, a ‘signpost grade’ would be better… “this is your grade for the term as of today… it can go up or down, but it’s you that decides that.”

This past quarter, I had to give a student a terrible grade.  But now he’s avoiding me in the hallways, and on dormitory, and elsewhere.  I want to help him, I really do.  But I can’t help a kid who is saying vehemently, “I don’t need help.”  And it’s not that he doesn’t need help… it’s just that he’s angry about what’s in the past.  His work in the past was poor, but now his work in the present is poor.  And I feel to blame.

I asked him just now whether his 20-slide slideshow will be done in time… and he said no, it would have maybe five slides in it.  Not acceptable…  How do I fix this? How do I get him to work to his potential and his greatness?

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  1. Your comment was deleted and I tried to DM you on Twitter, but realized that you don’t follow me. I thought you were, but I’m not offended.

    I’m not sure where the vulgarities come in. I hope that I didn’t come across as too vulgar. I only know what I see, which is the sheriff’s department rounding up people at random. It has nothing to do with the new law. He’s been doing these roundups for years. The news doesn’t report it. What happens is the sheriff will send out huge SUVs and then they’ll just start pulling people (typically pedestrians but also people in cars) and then arresting them for being illegal. We’ve had many cases of legal citizens getting pulled, which is why Arpaio is in the midst of a civil rights lawsuit.

    What I wrote in my blog was meant to be a personal reflection of what I’m seeing in my world. I don’t consider myself a journalist, but just a guy who likes to write about life.

    I tried to find an e-mail contact, but I couldn’t find it. I hope that this clarifies things a bit.

    • It does, and thanks for the response. I meant explicit in the old sense, not the new — “true and accurate and complete” not “filled with profanity.”

      I think that if you’re seeing these things, and you’re ready to write about them, that makes you a journalist.

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