Grading behaviors v's Grading Learning

Londa - posted on 10/29/2009 ( 24 moms have responded )

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I am a Mom and a Teacher. I have a philosophy for grading that simply states grading is a tool to measure a students learning. If teachers are constantly giving bonus points for students bring in tissues, germ ex, etc. then we are hurting the students by raising a grade without measuring the student learning. I also dislike teachers using grades as punishment. For example if a student turns in an assignment late but gets every single question, problem, etc. correct then he/she has demonstrated mastery of that skill. If I punish the fact that it is late by only giving him or her a 50%...which is what my daughters teachers do then I am doing an injustice to that child. This is not to say we should not deal with the behavior issue of turning in assignments late. This issue should be delt with but as a behavior issue with consequences such as missing recess or detention but I really don't feel that it should effect the grade. I would like to know the opinions of other teachers and mothers out there on this issue.

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Karie - posted on 09/24/2011

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I have four kids, two in middle school and two in primary school. We did not have to deal with this issue until my oldest was in middle school. I understand the teacher's stance on lowering the grade for late work that is turned in late for any other reason than an illness or excused absence. It makes more work for the teacher. In addition, at this point they are trying to get their students ready for high school, college, and future employment. What do you think the ramifications will be for these kids when they reach adulthood and they cannot complete their work on time in their jobs that they are being paid to do. The answer is, eventually they are going to lose their job. I think the idea behind this punishment is that in most cases a child is going to do all that work and turn it in late only once or twice before they figure out that its not worth it to only get half credit. Most kids will learn very quickly that it is better to get the work done and turned in on time. My daughter is currently in eighth grade and taking a high school algebra class. Her teacher will accept late work at 25% credit. That seems harsh, and it probably is. But ALL of the students in that class were made aware of her policy the very first day of class. So no one should be surprised or shocked if they receive a 25% grade on a paper turned in two days late. Kids have to be made accountable for their actions. If they are allowed to get away with things like this now, they will think it is acceptable later in life. That is giving them a false sense of what things will be like for them as adults. The truth is, they will have deadlines for things all of their lives. And the consequences for missing those deadlines are going to be a little more harsh than missing some of recess or having detention. And neither of those two options seems as though it would make a child want to turn in their assignments on time.

Amy - posted on 10/29/2009

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I agree with you 100%, however most schools do not have a school-wide functioning system in place to deal with behavior issues of all students. Some schools are also restricted when it comes to punishments. They do not allow detentions and some teachers have other obligations before and after school and cannot hold detention periods. I don't feel that missing recess should be an option either... These kids NEED physical education and activity (P.S. I'm a PE teacher) and that also means that the teacher would have to suppervise students during their planning time in most cases. I think that teachers are very limited in their ability to dish out punishments and for that reason the grade suffers. I used to teach Math for 3 years, so I understand the frustration... I've been there. But here's a new way to think about it (at least for older children)... If I show up to work 4 hours late, but I still do a GREAT job and know what I'm doing, should I still get paid for all 8 hours? Deducting points from a grade is a way of teaching children to be responsible and not turn in late work again. "they want to get a full pay".

Kristi - posted on 11/03/2009

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I have turned to not grading homework; I enter each grade in my grade book based on completiness and then award 5 extra credit points on the end of trimester test for those student who have turned in all homework on time and completed. This way the child who doesn't need practice and will still get an A gets the grade they deserve and the child who needs to practice and might not earn an A is rewarded for their hard work towards the standard. In our district we are looking at reporting achievement and effort seperately on the report card instead of together

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AnotherAnnieTX - posted on 03/04/2014

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The classroom teacher has a right to set her own grading policy without your approval. Just because it's not what you do in your classroom or what you believe has NO bearing on the situation. Stop making excuses for your child! In my 7th grade classroom, I took off 20 points for one day late, 50 points the second or third day, and refused to accept it after that. if a student was in danger of failing, I would NOT allow extra credit under any circumstances, but I would sometimes allow students to change a zero to a 50 by completing an assignment that he/she had not turned in. I'd only do it if the student came and talked to me, not their pushy parents, and the student had to stay after school and do the assignment in front of me. Those were my rules. Seriously though, should I expect every teacher my children encounter to do the same? Sometimes, other teacher parents are the hardest to deal with! One lady's husband taught high school, and her husband's tardy policy was that if you show up within 3 minutes of the tardy bell, you are not late. So she expected me not to give her daughter detention for multiple tardiness unless her daughter was more than 3 minutes late every time. No way! Or there was the teacher mom who thought her son, in a Pre AP class, should be able to turn in one or two sentences in lieu of an essay or project, have me give detailed feedback on what he actually needs to do, and then give him another chance to do it correctly - without any grade penalty. I felt like I explained the assignment in detail, gave examples, modeled, provided detailed instructions AND a rubric. Students had ample opportunity to ask questions or clarify expectations at the time the assignment was given. If her son didn't complete the assignment, it was his own fault and he deserved the zero.

I'm quite sure your daughter's teacher laid out all of her expectations at the beginning of school bad established what the consequences of late work would be. You need to be supportive of the teacher and do NOT allow your daughter to get away with rascal-like behavior.

Julia - posted on 02/16/2013

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I teach at the college level. Most assignments are either on time or receive a zero. One of my assignments is a group presentation. If you don't show up for class that day your group goes on without you, just like in the real world if you were on a team and had to present at a Confrence or to clients. You get a zero and you let down your team members because they have to improvise, but that is real life. I'm not totally unreasonable. I've had students who have had emergency surgery or other unavoidable issues. I will work with them. But I have also has students that have attendance problems miss because they over slept. That is unacceptable and wouldn't fly in the real world. Kids need to be prepared f. However I don't think my. My policy would be appropriate in say elementary school. In jr high and high school down grading for late work needs to start not all kids go to college and those that don't need to still be prepared for the world of work. We do no favors by coddling.

Pat - posted on 04/26/2012

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The problem I have is. . . when do I correct all the late work and then have time to prepare for the next day. I believe I am enabling the students to continue to turn in late work and that isn't my goal. I have tried the silent lunches, the noon detentions, the after school programs, conferences with the parents, the principal, the superintendent, contracts with the students and parents, and on and on and on. When nothing else works, I have resorted to the lower grade.

Angela - posted on 04/17/2012

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I am a high school science teacher, so my ideas may or may not apply to you, but my administration has been very impressed with my data analysis methods, especially in light of the increased use of data analysis in school/teacher evaluation.

I organize grades into two categories in my grade book. Students receive a knowledge grade and a life skills grade. The knowledge grade is calculated based on scores on assessments. The life skills grade is calculated based on all other daily events. This includes homework, classwork, labs, participation, extra credit, etc. My school operates based on weighted grades and I am still able to weight grades according to school protocol but the test/quiz scores make up their knowledge grade.

This method of analysis has been incredible as I have actually seen a sharp increase in my students' percentages when using this system. In work in a school with a high poverty population and many students have low grades due to incomplete homework/lack of supplies/support at home, etc. I have found that they truly do understand and can use the information they have learned in class by analyzing their assessment scores.

In the past when we did not operate on a school-wide system, I actually made my assessments worth a higher portion of their grade (50%) and out of my 130 students, only 2 failed the semester.

I do not agree with using grades as a punishment. I give credit where it is due. I also allow students to turn in assignments up until the date of the test because I would rather them take the time to do the assignment late than not at all - we need to remember the point of homework is for practice and application of the information and doing the work late will still improve their comprehension.

Sorry to write so much - this is a passion of mine! Now my 2 year old is removing my fingers 1 at a time from the keyboard - hope I helped your wheels turn!

Rebecca - posted on 11/06/2011

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I agree with you that giving less than 100% if the student has mastered the skill, but what do you do with students who hand in work late on a daily basis? I have tried no recess, talked to the parents, and even detention, but is still incomplete or all together not done. HELP!

Jeannette - posted on 11/03/2011

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I disagree with you Londa, on the point about not giving full credit for late work. It teaches bad habits that will not correlate in the real world of work expected and work performed. If I did my job late, haha! I COULDN'T!!! I would be FIRED immediately for thinking I was going to do my job a day later. I deliver the mail. Now, imagine if all doctors, teachers, mail carriers, showed up whenever the heck they felt like it... They do their job, they know how, buuuuutttt, they just didn't FEEL like doing it in the time they are actually paid to do it. Really?
I WISH my kid's teachers would not even let them turn in late work. No lie. I think it is setting them up for some unrealistic expectations in college and in the workforce.

Mazy - posted on 09/22/2011

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I totally agree with Lily Garcia. Although, I also understand your point, Londa. I don't know what ages you teach, but I feel that until the child reaches middle school age (grade 6), then late assignments should be handled with your method of taking away recess, etc. But I honestly don't think work should be accepted more than two days late. However, once they are grade 6 & up, then YES, they should lose points on the assignment since the deadline was also part of the assignment. I also do feel that if it's a large assignment, like say a book report that has been assigned well in advance, then a child should lose points for turning it in late no matter what grade they are in. Punctuality is very important & from what I'm seeing lately, a lot of folks are letting it slide.

Lily - posted on 09/15/2011

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I remember having teachers who docked our assignments one grade per day that we were late. After 4 days it was an automatic F. I see nothing wrong with the policy. If my husband missed the deadline to provide a proposal to a client, he would lose the sale with no discussion. If I missed a major deadline at work, I would not have a second chance to make it up and could even lose my job. Miss the deadline to register your car, pay a fine. Miss the due date on a bill, pay a late fee. Allowing kids to turn in their work behind schedule without penalty is a flawed policy that creates bad habits which are not going to be accepted in the workplace.

Angela - posted on 11/06/2009

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We have a district policy for the first issue and our school has a policy for the second. You can't give an academic grade for non-academic activities (like bringing in tissues). It was a problem in our district up until a few years ago and then the district decided to make it a policy. I agree with it completely. Our school (high school) states that major assignments will be accepted late for 30 points off. As for other assignments, it varies by departments and by levels. I teach AP classes, and we (AP teachers) don't accept any daily work late. I don't think most of the upper-level teachers accept late daily work either (junior/senior teachers). The freshman/sophomore teachers may accept late daily work for 30 points off just like the major assignments, but I'm not sure. I understand your point about it being a behavioral issue, but I don't know what the penalty would be that would get through to the students, especially AP juniors and seniors. 50% does seem excessive though.

[deleted account]

Quoting Londa:

Ty all for your responses. This is a discussion I have been wanting to have for sometime. As an extension to this discussion, when a teacher only has the option of taking points of for turning in an assignment late, what would be a reasonable percentage. I think my biggest problem with this is taking 50% of her grade for a late assignment.


50% is just crazy! We have assigned rubrics for it using on time, late or never as for turning it in on time. Many teachers dont like rubrics but it takes out the guess work and stops teachers for taking too many points off. Ours has 25 pts for each homework assignment and 1 to 3 points taken off for submitting late homework. Three points for on time homework, two for late and one for never submitted. Grading should be regulated nation wide!

Melissa - posted on 11/06/2009

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Wow! I never knew teachers gave bonus points for bringing in tissues, germ ex, etc. I don't like that. I understand that schools can have a shortage of tissues and such, but you have to take what you get when donations are concerned. Using grades as the incentive for tissues leads to teachers and parents not getting a true measurement of the student's abilities. Also taking a whole 50% off for a late paper is too much. Maybe 10% wouldn't be such an issue or like you said staying in for recess.

[deleted account]

Quoting Amy:

I agree with you 100%, however most schools do not have a school-wide functioning system in place to deal with behavior issues of all students. Some schools are also restricted when it comes to punishments. They do not allow detentions and some teachers have other obligations before and after school and cannot hold detention periods. I don't feel that missing recess should be an option either... These kids NEED physical education and activity (P.S. I'm a PE teacher) and that also means that the teacher would have to suppervise students during their planning time in most cases. I think that teachers are very limited in their ability to dish out punishments and for that reason the grade suffers. I used to teach Math for 3 years, so I understand the frustration... I've been there. But here's a new way to think about it (at least for older children)... If I show up to work 4 hours late, but I still do a GREAT job and know what I'm doing, should I still get paid for all 8 hours? Deducting points from a grade is a way of teaching children to be responsible and not turn in late work again. "they want to get a full pay".


Great response Amy. My hat is off to you! Teaching is a hard job as it is but a PE teacher is in many ways harder. I think taking away PE or recess only stresses the teacher more in the end since their time is taken away as well. No matter the age they need recess and PE! I remember the presidency test we had to do when I was in school. Your example with work pay and showing up late puts it in perspective! I think depending on the circumstances and age of the child that repetitive lateness could be a reason to loose some marks. Just nothing drastic. Our schools grading rubrics have points for the childs academics as well as their overall responsibility as a student. It works out. If the problem is a constant issue the obviously the parents should be called in and a solution found. No teacher should let constant negative behavior continue.

[deleted account]

I agree with you. My daughter gets sick easily and then has a very limited time to make up work, tests, quizzes, or projects. It isn't her fault. She is given a time to have everything in and usually at once without the teachers getting together and making a make up schedule so they aren't asking for the impossible at once. As a teacher I really hate it when I am asked to give second chances, retest, or am told but she has a certain average and if you give her this grade it will pull that down. Too many allowances and excuses are given these days and everyone wonders why kids aren't responsible! Good topic Londa

Maureen - posted on 11/05/2009

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This is something that keeps happening in our classrooms daily. I am a Jamaican teacher of Grade four and have taught from Grades 1-6.The two are linked together to some extent. What I do is set ground rules for them first of all.
I let them know that their learning is linked to their behaviour and allow them to come up with the rules and punishments.
Surprisingly, some good ones came out even relating to Cooperative Grouping.
When assignments are given to groups and they all know the consequences for late or incomplete work, they rally round and help each other. Therefore the behaviour is at a minimum. Points are loss to groups or individual students as well as privileges are taken away. I never take away recess, but I may limit their using the computer or taking part in PE.I target what they enjoyed doing...it works for me.
As to late assignments which are correctly done, I encourage and motivate them to be more punctual because they are doing well in their learning, but any repeat and they will lose 5points from grade.
Keep them on their toes as to all this and it does make a difference. As teachers we must be fair in how we grade behavious and Learning because it can bring across resentment. We must always, always be consistent in what we say or do because kids are very observant. If you say you will punish anyone who brings in late papers, then you must do exactly as you say.

Cheryl - posted on 11/02/2009

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I agree whole heartedly! My students have silent lunch to complete their homework if they don't complete it on time. This way, their grade does not suffer, but I have made my point that they need to be responsible for getting their work in on time. At our school we utilize the PBS system (Positive Behavior Support) that rewards positive behavior with inexpensive celebrations for the children. This has been the most effective system I have used in my 20 year career.

User - posted on 10/31/2009

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In Ontario we are not allowed to deduct marks for late work. This is reported in the "Learning Skills" section of the report card which informs parents about work habits, social skills and personal development.

Londa - posted on 10/31/2009

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Ty all for your responses. This is a discussion I have been wanting to have for sometime. As an extension to this discussion, when a teacher only has the option of taking points of for turning in an assignment late, what would be a reasonable percentage. I think my biggest problem with this is taking 50% of her grade for a late assignment.

Sara - posted on 10/30/2009

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I completely agree. To deduct points of a late assignment doesn't make any sense. If they did it (and may have worked hard on it but just forgot to turn it in or whatever) , then they should get credit for it. Taking away points on the assignment for lateness does not teach them responsibility, in my opinion.

My son is in 5th grade and what the teachers have done is create a separate category for the Academic Conduct & Resposibility of the student. They get grades and marks for missing assignments, late assignments, being unprepared for class, behavior etc. If my son hands in a paper late, he will still get regular credit for it and no points are deducted. b/c its late. However, he will get a mark on his Conduct/Responsibilty contract, for that week. And at the end of the week he gets a grade for how well he did in turning in assigments,being prepared, paying attention, etc.

I think it works better this way b/c he doesn' t lose credit or get half of for not turning in assignments that he may have worked hard on, but it reflects on another aspect. Its not fair to deduct points on an assignment if it was done well and is correct.

So far, it seems to somewhat keep my son on track b/c he knows he gets graded on it and the contract comes home and has to be signed every week, so I know when he is missing assignments or if he turned them in late or whatever the case may be.

Debbie - posted on 10/30/2009

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I agree with you. The problem is, at my school we don't give detentions and there is no recess. I teach 2nd grade. So there really is no punishment. I do have what I call "Fun Friday" This is where the kids get 30 minutes on Friday to have free time. Something they look forward to. My students know that if they have all their work turned in by Friday they can play, but if not they work on whatever I'm missing from them.

I can't believe your daughter's teachers take of 50% , that is CRAZY! Sorry.

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