I had hoped to have a clever title or some catchy way to start this, but I don't. I guess that's not really me. Today I gave my first test to my Math 1 students and my first test since starting SBG. The test covered 8 skills and I had given 2 non-graded quizzes over 7 of the learning targets prior to the tests. I only gave written feedback and tried to give some other feedback to the students when I could individually. As I have previously mentioned, I have not collected or graded homework at all, which is also a pretty big switch for me. I have given answers with every assignment; yet another change for me All in all, lots of changes for me in how I assess and give homework.
I was pretty anxious to grade the tests and see how they did as well as how their grades would look in my version of SBG. After hearing about how @druinok really struggled with grading her first set of papers, I was a little nervous about how long it would take. Since this was Math 1, it wasn't horrendously difficult to grade and I was actually surprised how much easier it was than I thought it would be. That's not to say that there weren't some scores that I struggled with. I did end up giving a couple of 4.5's but it made the most sense to me for how those students did. I can see where a four-point scale may make it a little easier (harder to find middle ground between scores) and I may revise to that for next year, but given that I have only graded one set of tests, it's probably a little premature to say that. And, to be honest, there were really only a couple of students on a couple of skills where I really waffled on where to rate them. We'll have to see how that plays out as the grading goes on.
After I put the grades in the grade book, I was pleasantly surprised to see where they fell. I suspected that there would be much fewer failing grades (and to be honest, that should be the case at the moment even if I had used the old system) and there were. Actually, there were quite a few B's and C's and I am pleased with that. I felt that their grades accurately reflect their understanding. My lowest students actually did some things rather well and I am hoping that maybe they will have some motivation to try to re-assess and improve their grade (and ultimately their understanding).
I have to say that once I finished grading their papers tonight (yes, I actually came home and finished grading papers on a Friday afternoon/evening!), I felt pretty good. I felt pretty good about how they did. I felt pretty good about the grading piece of it. I wasn't ticked off as I have been in the past at how they did and I didn't feel exhausted by the grading process. It was different and unfamiliar to me. I like it. :-)
All in all, I am pretty happy with how things have worked out with my Math 1 class so far. I was nervous about how they would take to SBG. I am still a little nervous about it with them - mainly with two issues: first, the not grading homework bit. I am hopeful they will continue to work at the assignments and practice whether it be in class (if time) or out of class. Second, I am nervous about the reassessments with them. I am afraid that they will see their grades, see that they are passing and be satisified with that (or even thrilled). I don't want them to be satisfied with it. I want them to want to improve their understanding (and actually do it). I want them to continue to be motivated to do the homework problems and practice and continue to make sure they understand what I am asking them to learn. So, how do I do that? In all our SBG discussions, we talked about setting it up but I can't seem to recall discussing how to get them to buy into the reassessment part all that much. My other classess will want to reassess, if only to improve their grades. These kids, I'm not sure if there will be that motivation. So how do I get them to buy into that?
I'm looking forward to reading your responses in the comments. Happy weekend everyone!