Friday, May 24, 2013
As I reflected upon this past year's AP Biology class, I decided that I wanted(needed) to make some changes in how I run the class. Maybe some drastic changes. I was very unhappy with the preoccupation my students had with their grades. Almost every time an assignment was given, students would ask "Is this going to be graded?" My response was usually along the lines of "Will my answer change the amount of work you put in? And if your answer to that is yes, should it be?"
I was also often asked the question “What can I/my child do to improve my test grades?” I felt as though students did not know what areas they needed to concentrate on the most in order to improve. And more importantly, students never worried about their learning, just how to increase their grade. So the question is: Do my grades actually reflect student learning, or are they measuring something else? How can I fix this situation so that learning is more important than a number on a test/quiz/lab/report card? And since I am required to have grades for my students, how can I be sure that learning is actually what is being measured by my grades?
All of these thought processes led me to Standards Based Grading. I am not going to go into the finer points of SBG philosophy, others have done that much more eloquently than I could (Word doc). This blog is meant to simply be a way for me to keep track of my thoughts, and maybe help some others out in moving towards SBG. Next post, I will begin sharing my standards writing procedure for my AP Biology class.