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Thread: Grading advice?

  1. #1

    Grading advice?

    Hi! I really don't know where to post this message so I might repost it within another topic on this forum. We are enthusiastically returning to TOG after a two year hiatus with another (classroom-based) program. My oldest is beginning high school so we are starting with Y1. I understand the program fairly well (many thanks to TTT sessions) and how credits are issued for high school credit. My question is about how to determine grades for individual courses. For instance, there are several components to the history course - geography, AQ and TQ (and charts), Rhetoric discussions, timeline (optional), and evaluations. How do I break down these components to give a single grade? I am thinking that giving a grade at the end of each week is a good idea, and then averaging all 36 of those weekly grades for a final grade, but how do you decide the weight of each component? In addition, not all aspects of the program are present in each week plan - some weeks do not have geography (or have very little) and it is not recommended that quizzes be given every week so how do I adjust for these variations? In addition, how do the unit tests and final test fit? And this is only for history. I need a different method to issue a grade for Literature and Composition (English), Bible Survey/Church History, etc. since there are different (and oftentimes fewer) components (and no official quizzes or tests). I may be overthinking this, but I don't want to find myself at the end of the year with no way to figure out how to issue a grade or have a sensible way to justify a grade I assign.

    So how do you determine grades for individual subjects on the Rhetoric level? Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Lancaster County, PA
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    First, you need a secret decoder ring --- Just kidding! If only it were that easy.

    I struggled with this for our first R year last year and then again for this year. What I've concluded, based on advice from others and my own reading from homeschooling high school books, is that first I need to decide what skills or behaviors I want to focus on that year. Last year, oldest dd's first year at the R level in history, I wanted to see her be able to glean information from denser resources, be able to interact with it by discussing it with me, and be able to translate her thoughts to essays. We did do some quizzes but used them as a learning tool. The unit exams I used as review tools. So I did give points to her weekly written AQ, TQ, and charts, also for discussion, and then for the essays she wrote throughout the year. I thought I'd use rubrics for the AQ/TQ/charts and discussion grades, but ended up just giving her 100% if she did everything asked her to and show diligence in her work. (Not very objective, I know.) How you weight them is up to what you want to emphasize. This year, knowing that she transitioned well to the R level, the major weight in her grade for history will be the quizzes. My goal is to use about 5-6 of them per unit. I know she will wiz through the fill-in-the-blank or short answer questions since comprehension isn't an issue. But we are focusing on the timed essay responses in the quizzes. I share this just to show you how my goals or priorities guide by grade weighting.

    For writing, I use the rubrics in Writing Aids. They have served us well for this purpose.

    For lit, I grade papers and give unit exams. This year part of her grade will include lit terms quizzes. There is a great chart in one of the Loom documents about teaching R lit that has multiple way to weight and assign lit grades.

    For Bible Survey last year, I used the same, non-objective approach as I did for part of history -- if she did what I asked her to do, showed diligence, and engaged fully in discussions, I gave her 100%.

    One last note, I have found it extremely helpful to write out my course descriptions before we begin the year and include grading information (how a grade will be determined). I did not do this until 2/3 of the way through the year last year and tore my hair out in the spring while preparing for our state-mandated annual evaluation. So, I spent part of this summer developing the descriptions and grading schemes for 10th grade and spent considerable time in prayer over them. Now both dd and I know exactly what we are targeting. Yay!

    Basically, you get to decide what you want to do. Don't let my methods or anyone else's methods or suggestions sway you more than your own priorities based on the Lord's priorities.

    HTH!
    Monica
    "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    283
    I'm more an instinctive sort of grader.

    In my view TQ and AQ questions as well as lit questions are just prep for our weekly discussion. So the discussion is what I base my grade on. I suppose you can work out an elaborate scheme for how many things you need to hear from a student to get various grades in the discussion, but I go more by the idea behind grades: C is average, basic knowledge, B is a bit above that and A is superior knowledge. I also look beyond the knowledge/content to see if my student is making connections.

    After the discussions, I use the unit exams. I also like to see one or two papers during the year to finalize the overall grading picture.
    Pat
    "Of two evils, choose neither."
    Charles H. Spurgeon
    http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm

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