Journal Entry 3

Grading

Information Used When Determining a Grade

There are three different pieces that I use when determining a grade. The first piece I use is progress made. I always do beginning assessments to find out what level my students are at. I use that to determine what I need to teach. At the end of the unit, I will give a similar assessment to determine what gains have been made over the time of the unit. I intend for all students to make progress and hopefully reach the goal of the lesson. I don't expect all students to know everything about the topic after I teach it but I do expect them to progress in the subject area.

The next piece I use is assessment. I use multiple forms of assessment to determine what students know and understand. If I observe the student correctly doing a multiplication problem seven times and then they make a tiny mistake on the ending assessment, I will realize that the student does know the process. I will also use homework, worksheets, and assessments given throughout the unit. I am constantly assessing the students throughout the unit and determining how well they understand the content.

The final piece I use is effort. I think effort is an enormous part of learning. Effort is a big piece in my current classroom. I have students who simply won't turn in homework and often spend their recess' inside completing it. Consequently, these students aren't doing as well in the general education classroom. I have other students who always complete their homework but may have quite a few wrong. Even though the student has them wrong, they complete the work which lets me know what I need to cover further. Even if the student may have done the work incorrectly, they are still putting effort toward their education which will help them a great deal as they get older and move on toward "the real world."

Will Information Count Equally?

No, I don't count the three pieces I use equally. I can't say I have an exact percentage for how I break it down, because it depends on the unit being taught and the expected outcomes. In general, I count the progress made for the largest portion of the grade. I think this is one of the most important aspects of learning, especially for students with special needs who progress at differing speeds. The next biggest portion is assessments. Again, I use various forms of assessment and they weigh differently on the grade depending on the unit being taught. Effort is probably the smallest portion, however, it does affect grades. Students need to put forth effort toward their education.

Information Given to Parents and Students

The main piece of information that I give to parents and students is that although grades are important, they are not the only thing. As I stated previously, I think one of the most important part of grading students with special needs is the progress that is made. I would really stress this to the parents. Another thing I would share with them is the homework the students are completing. I keep a chart of students turning in homework on time, late, or not at all. I would share this information with the parents and child to show how much effort the students are putting in and how it affects there overall grade or progress in the classroom. Finally, I would share assessment scores with the parents. However, I would stress that this may not be the best way to show their child's knowledge.

Reducing Test Anxiety

I would try to reduce test anxiety by pumping up the student's self esteem. I would tell them how the questions on the test are similar to what we do everyday in class. Then I would show them how well they are doing in class and how that will help them on their tests. I would also try to reduce anxiety by breaking up the test into smaller portions. For students with special needs who receive more time on tests, I would only have them do a few questions at a time. If the test is broken up into passages, I would have them do one passage at a time. I have seen my students look at an entire test and immediately get overwhelmed. If I can prevent this by breaking it up into smaller portions, I will do that.

Cheating

Cheating should be addressed immediately after it occurs. Teachers should stress to the students that cheating is unacceptable. Students should understand the seriousness and consequences of cheating. I would explain to them that if they cheat their way through school, they will end up not knowing the information they need to be successful in college or the "real world."


It should be handled based on the severity and what it is the student is cheating on. For example, if students are trying to cheat on the WKCE tests, the consequence should be larger than cheating on a homework sheet. Students should understand the severity of both but the teacher can handle it different based on their own cheating policy.