I had a parent ask me if their child ever has homework. I thought about it and answered "rarely." This year I have adapted a new method in practice and grading. I discovered that the battle of homework with today's students uses more energy than it is worth. Therefore I make homework 15%, quizzes 25%, and assessments 60%. Students quickly learn that they need to understand the material because I give a lot of quizzes and many differing forms of assessments.
I introduce a concept and put it to practice with five to ten problems that I monitor and grade the instant a student is finished- problem to problem or overall. I call this a double check process. If a student misses the problem I circle it and have them correct it. If and when I catch a student copying, I tell them to think for themselves and I closely monitor their work. If I think a student may have copied an answer; because I see no evidence of an attempt to solve, I ask the student how they got it. Most of the time, I am surprised. I learn a new method to solve that does not involve my extensively written out process. Sometimes I ask to see how they think. I love to learn and understand their methods.
They only receive partial credit for the corrected answer; however, I deduct four to six points per incorrect/corrected problem.
- This method provides a student with instant feedback and a chance to learn from their mistakes and get the correct answer.
- All of my papers are graded on the spot. I don't spend hours grading hundreds of papers later.
- Problems instantly correlate with a specific concept.
- My students confidence goes up with a since of ownership in the process. They love to know how they did and calculate their grade in the process.
Quizzes are where concepts accumulate and I incorporate what I have been told is a "spiral review." A quiz will consist of several questions that span differing concepts requiring my students to pull together their knowledge and skills. These also are a double check. I am more specific on the double check and points here. I use the quizzes to build my students towards confidence in their independence. Then the exams are a one time try just like the EOC. I grade them straight forward without curves. My students panic at first until I remind them that their Journal is there as a major grade in case of a low test grade.
The only area that I really struggle with is how to do test corrections/revisions. I want to develop a method that is thorough and worth the time. Suggestions would be appreciated.
I have noticed my students confidence has gone up and they take pride in their hard work in my class. They walk in, grab their journals, and are ready to go before me. I feel that my students are learning very well.
This topic was spurred on by a blog i have read recently by Math = Love.