Due to snow days, cold weather days, and a class full of students bursting with creativity, my class still has not presented on standards based grading. I think every group is going to present a proposal in favor of SBG, but I think some are just doing it because the argument is easier. I still have a few who are completely unsure about this whole thing. I should be able to share their proposals with you next week.
While I’ve had my freshmen honors class completely immersed in SBG, I made the switch to SBG with my seniors without really even telling them about it. I’d really just like to see what comments come up about it and if they even notice a change.
With that said, I had my seniors answer a few questions that required research one day. I’ve gone completely paperless, so all of their work is submitted through Google Drive. When I started reading through the submitted answers, I was very disappointed in the quality of work I had received. In the past, I would have probably pouted about it, told my students I was not impressed, slapped a grade on it (all passing because they did it), and we would have moved on. How sad is that? My students would never have learned what they had done wrong. Clearly, by assigning a passing grade, I was letting them know that their work was good enough. My words would have said one thing and my actions another.
Instead I made comments on every single document. I made a screencast video to show the students how to set up the paper, answer the questions, cite their sources, etc. That way they could look back on it any time they needed. I explained what needed to be fixed, and I allowed my students the time to make the corrections. I spent over a week working collaboratively with my students in Google Drive to really show each one of them what is expected with their work. By the end of the week I was absolutely exhausted, tired of talking students through the same mistakes, but I also know each one of them understands so much more than they would have if I had just done it the old way.
I can absolutely understand why there is a fear to make the switch to SBG. Slapping a grade on an assignment really is so much easier, but how does that help our kids? I think my students have been allowed to turn in mediocre work for so long that we began to believe that’s all they had in them. It’s not, and it’s time they know that.