I tell the PB's that I don't give grades - they earn them. Grading is a controversial subject and I at least want to take the mystery out of grading for you. Polar Bears are to hand in their assigned work in the PB subject bins. (At the beginning of the year, I remind students to hand in work, but at the end of the year they're on their own.) Every day my student helpers and I go through work handed in and track it using checklists. Usually, students who haven't handed in work are notified and given a chance to find it and sometimes complete it. This means that, yes, PB's are told almost daily when work and homework isn't in. Offically, I don't allow makeup work, but unoffically, I do notice it. |
Grades are entered into the a computer program and backups are made daily. PB's may ask to see their grades at any time. Grades are posted to the web at least twice weekly, but usually daily (you access them by password and a secret number) and a full report is sent home each week. Still, I think it's important for parents to be fully aware of their child's progress and why they're earning the grades they're receiving. I hope you'll feel free to call me (my home phone number will be sent home) or shoot me an e-mail whenever you have a question about grades or progress.
What do you grade? Sometimes my childís homework isnít even marked.
I don't grade all the homework or daily papers. Quite frankly, I would be up all night if I attempted to grade everything! The PBs know that daily work
is practice and itís up to them to do the work and study. They don't usually know which homework or daily work I'll grade. I do, however,
keep track of when work is in or not and use that as part of the grade for each
subject. Makeup work, if allowed, never earns full credit. Hereís some other areas I look at when assigning grades, roughly
listed in order of importance:
Tests - Tests are very important this year. I usually
make my own tests that cover exactly what weíve learned. I use standardized and mandated tests minimally for grades. Those tests mostly show how I'm doing.
Projects - Projects and reports show how well each student can use what weíve learned.
Daily Grades - I don't grade all daily work, but the PB's often don't know which work I'm going to grade. Most writing is graded.
Observation - I take note of daily work, homework, and work
not easily graded (such as oral reading) and compile these into frequent
Progress - No matter what level a child is on itís important
that he or she continues to make progress.
Participation - Students who take an active part in learning
Effort - If a student isnít trying, his or her grade may
My child's report card grades were different from the grades you
sent home each week.
The grades that I send home throughout a grading period are raw scores..whatever
I enter into the grading program. There may be many zeros (for not handing
in work). That can really bring down a grade. At report card time, I may
weigh certain assignments more and factor in some intangibles such
as effort, participation, and progress. I usually drop one or two of the
lowest grades in each subject because I want the report card grades to
show progress rather than work habits. All of this activity tends to raise
grades - unless your child has more than one or two zeros.
PB Grade Reports
Weekly report sent home
Posted to the web bi-weekly
E-mail reports upon request
Phone conference anytime
In addition, I can make mistakes! Although I have a system of
checks and balances for grading, I can and have made mistakes. The PB's
know they can ask me about a grade and I'll be more than fair about any
suspected mistake. That's one reason I try to print grades at least weekly.
You should contact me as soon as possible if you believe there's an error.
My daughter has a lot of zeroes, which really ruin her grades. What's
Most of fifth grade teachers at Pinellas Park Elementary are relatively
strict about assignment requirements. Not all teachers at the school follow
the same requirements. If work is not in by the due date or time, if there's
no name on the work, or if the work indicates obvious disregard for instructions,
it may earn a zero. This may seem harsh, but it also works to help the
students develop reasonable work habits. I may drop a few zeroes at report-card time, because
I'd prefer grades to reflect progress more than work habits, but students
on the verge of middle school have to learn that there are severe grade
consequences for neglecting work. Cheating on assignments will also earn
So students can get failing grades strictly because of work habits
and not academics? How can I tell how my daughter is doing academically?
Yes, in theory, turning in work is a part of work habits. In reality,
though, turning in work is not part of work habits - it is part of academics. As your child moves up to middle and high school, the ability to complete work satisfactorily becomes even more important.
Also, it is difficult for me to give an accurate academic assessment unless I
see a variety of work. You can email me, or call me anytime at home, or before and after
school in the classroom to discuss academic progress, so that we can figure out whether there's an actual academic difficulty or if the trouble has more to do with work habits.
Will my child fail?
If there's even a small chance of failure, I'll let you know by December, and I'll contact you in January for a conference. Notices of possible retention will be sent out
with the period 2 report card. If you don't get a notice, and if you haven't heard from me about the topic, your child isn't being
considered! It has been very difficult to retain students, even when I see a need. Retention hasn't been considered "educationally correct," although that is certainly changing in the political arena lately. Also, changing regulations concerning FCAT may affect who is retained. I have seen retention help certain students in certain situations. The research shows little long term benefits from retention, however, and the dangers associated with retention are real. If you would like your child retained, please contact me so we can discuss all
of the issues.
|Here are the grading cutoffs: 100-90 = A 89-80 = B 79-70 = C 69-60 = D 59 or Below = F