Prototype Ia

Day 5 (Sure doesn’t take long to get behind)

Sorry no picture today.  Students spent today taking their first assessments so let me fill you in on what I am doing here.  This blog is a (nearly) daily record of the goings on in my Physics I class.  I will mostly post pictures of the “goings on” of the day; a “dear diary” of sorts.  On occasion, however, I may post a more lengthy description of my rationale and teaching style. (Hint: this is one)

I am attempting to steer students into the mindset that their learning should be a process; I cannot flip a switch that turns on their knowledge of physics.  If I could, damn, my job would be a lot easier.

Learning expectations are clearly communicated well before they are assessed.  At the beginning of each units students are given a list of standards (skills) that they are expected to master by the end of the course.  Students ability to demonstrate mastery of these skills is the major component in calculating their grade.

Practicing skills is important and necessary, but  most importantly, it is not a punishable exercise. Students are not rewarded for practicing skills; grades are influenced by assessments only.  Homework is not graded.

Learning is the constant; time is the variable.*  It doesn’t matter when the skill is mastered.  Learning demonstrated on day 1 and day 90 hold equal weight in the grade book.  Student growth, as well as, regression is monitored.  Each skill is assessed multiple times throughout the semester, only the most recent assessment is included in grade calculation.

So that’s it.  The skin and bones of my grading rationale.  The buzz word for it is Standards Based Grading (SBG) but whatever you call it; its the only system that allows me to sleep at night.

*paraphrased from Matt Townsley “With Students in Mind” podcast episode 11.


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