Nick, High School Science Teacher

I’m holding them accountable for what they know, not how much they do what I say

“I don’t include classwork or homework in the grade. I had a conversation with my students about it when I introduced it—about how classwork and homework are the means to learning the materials which they will then demonstrate on the quiz and tests. Student reactions were very mixed at the beginning, but they admitted that they treat a lot of classes as a game, where you figure out what things you need to do to get a certain grade and you accumulate points by doing the right things.

It’s much more straightforward in my class.

We can get away from all those games and we can focus on learning. We can focus on improving your understanding of the material. One student blurted out, ‘I like this way of grading,’ and I said, ‘Me too.’ What surprised me is that it’s the students who always get A’s who were the most skeptical and resistant to the change, because they do all their homework and behave well in class, and do whatever the teacher says, and they rely on the behavior-type points to maintain their grades. Now I’m holding them accountable for what they know, not how much they do what I say.”

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