Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Day 43: Poor Grade Prep

I want to avoid giving homework as much as I can, but the students do need practice.  To that end, I try to make time in class and today was that time.

While they were working, I went around the class to see who would be reassessing skills tomorrow before the end of the marking period.

For a week, the list of requirements has been on the board.  They've boiled down to:
1) Do corrections on your last test.
2) Get test and corrections signed.

Every student had this opportunity.

7 will be taking advantage of it.

Several students claimed that they didn't know they had to do test corrections in order to be eligible.  I pointed out where it had not only been written on the board, but where I had them copy it into their notes.

I am bracing myself for a barrage of angry emails and phone calls when students receive less than ideal grades on their report cards.  I have been considering my response:

Thank you very much for your concerns.   I believe in learning from mistakes and am more concerned with student improvement than perfection.  To this end, my grade book will remain open for the entirety of the school year and students may return to any skill to demonstrate mastery.  Students learn at different rates and I do not believe that students who take longer to learn a certain concept should be penalized for it.  As of this moment, your child has demonstrated mastery in several skills and has the opportunity to improve in several others. 
In regards to the grade on the current marking period, the percentage that you see may be lower than what your child has traditionally brought home.  This is partially due to the the increased level of rigor in the middle school and partially due to the difference in my grading system.  The percentage grades that are displayed on the report card are not set in stone, but rather are fluid and may change as your child demonstrates their mastery of the material.  The students have had three opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts.  As we progress through the year, they will be given more. 
While learning is a life-long process, and shouldn't be limited by calendars, the school year does have such a limit.  If your child is unsatisfied with their mastery of the material, we have discussed in the class the steps that need to be taken to improve their understanding.  For example, the reassessment that was offered on October 26th needed to be preceded by test corrections and a parent signature to keep parents and guardians informed of the process. 
I have explained to the students that their grades are only final when the year is over or when they choose to no longer reassess the skills.  The Report Card is merely a snapshot of their current demonstration of understanding and can be improved up until the end of the school year. 
Thank you very much for your time.  I know that this process is different from the norm and can be confusing.  If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  
Thank you again,
Mr. Aion

Here's to hoping I won't have to send it out.

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