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Using Grades to Motivate

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Introduction

When thinking about school and all that goes on during school, grading and getting good grades is an important aspect. Students are sometimes more worried about getting a good grade on an assignment rather than learning the actual material. It is the teacher's job to give students an assessment that is directly related to the learning of the specific topic. In order to enhance children's learning O'Conner (2005), author of Seven Practices for Effective Learning, suggests some "assessment and grading practices that can enhance teaching and learning" (12). These include assessing before teaching and offering students choices. In Wingers article, Grading to Communicate, he explains how to use grades to promote learning. The final grade a student receives in class is much more than just how well they do on tests. Teachers need to decide what learning they value most; a major part of the grade should be the part connected to the actual learning and then students work habits or attitude. These grades should be thought of as feedback for students. ...read more.

Middle

Teachers know that students don't possess all the same interests and learn differently; some are hands-on learners and in order to learn then need to physically be doing something; other children learn through discussion and succeed when being talked to. For others writing down the information is their ticket for learning. With this information teachers should offer appropriate choices to students as a way to show they have learned. If teachers "allow students to work to their strengths" (O'Conner, 2005, 15) their understanding of the material will show through. The article gives the example of asking student to show their understanding of the relationship between geography and economy. He wanted the assignment to be something that really mattered, not just a paper, but something everyone would see. Each student was responsible for making something that would be displayed at a museum. When students are doing something they enjoy they won't realize they are learning and most likely will put more effort into it. It is a dream of all teachers to want their students to love learning as they do. ...read more.

Conclusion

Following a unit about presidents, students can do a presentation about a specific president, draw a picture of a president and write about him, or write a report. When offering this choice, students will actually want to do the work because it is something they are interested in. After reading these articles I now understand that to produce grades that accurately report academic progress, a majority of it should be about the material. I think non-academic factors also need to be integrated into a child's grade because it is part of how they learn. I am a big advocate for taking points off major assignments that are late. I feel if I don't do this I am giving the children that don't hand it in on time more time to do the assignment as well as a bad lesson on procrastination. I see homework as a crucial part of the learning process, when assigning homework I am going to make sure it's done, but not necessarily grade it. Homework is a time to work thought any additional problems the student has before mastering the skill. All these things put together will hopefully make my grading procedure one that is contoured towards helping students learn. ...read more.

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