Thursday, March 6, 2008

good grades, steep curves- the road to progress SOLC day 6

I'm trying to get started on my students' report cards. Our third quarter ends next week. I teach at a "modified calendar" school so our students attend school for nine weeks, have a few weeks off and come back for nine more and so on. Our students begin school the first week of August after a five week "summer" and end the middle of June. Love the calendar... not hep on report cards. I didn't even like them when we attended school September through June. They're in front of me as I write. They are beautifully organized scan forms with areas on the right signifying "final mark" in teal blue, not to be mistaken for the third quarter mark area in white. They will entail bubbling 58 bubbles per 18 students. Those perfectly shaded with number two lead pencil bubbles will include six coded comments that will describe the attainment level of our content area and behavior habits objectives worked on this quarter. Six bubbled comments! Six sets of bubbles for this really aren't enough, but who wants to add to the 40 or so before that point? How can a 80% gray shaded bubble concisely explain the achievement level and pure effort of a boy who went from not ever saying a word in discussion to softly sharing compelling ideas in a group? I can't find the area to bubble that shows a girl's progress made in mathematical thinking and flexibility in using various strategies to solve problems. Hmmm... maybe there is a code for that. I know there aren't comment codes for "blows me away with his mature analysis (not just retelling) of the novel he is reading even though he reads below grade level and rarely turns in homework" or "is just plain charismatic." So, I'm still staring at these darn things and hoping I can make some progress filling something in that doesn't begin to show what my students know.


GirlGriot said...

Making grades has always been the thing I've liked least about teaching. There's no way a few letters and punctuation marks can explain any student. Good luck finding a way to get through yours!

Kevin said...

We haven't yet moved to bubble sheets but report cards loom over my weekend activities, too. I struggle with what to say in the comments, as I want to balance uplifting support for their work with reality, in just a small space. I wish I could do it on the computer, where my writing flows more naturally, than on paper, where my hand never keeps up with my mind.

Stacey from Two Writing Teachers said...

Sounds like you need to have two grades: one for progress and one for effort.

Blink said...

Stacey- we do have a bubble for achievement level attained and one for effort. Still wish for more:)