‘Tis the Season: Meaningful Grading and the Role of Redos

This post is a corollary to the post: Meaningful Grading: Is It An Oxymoron? 

I imagine I will remain unsure about the correlation between grades and learning for the foreseeable future. But, one thing I am pretty sure about is the correlation between grades and doing your work. If, then, the work has been constructed in a way that promotes learning, there might be a more meaningful connection between grades and learning…

I’m headed into what I call the Season of Redos. I have a very generous redo policy for my lower division classes (aural skills 1-4, music theory 1-4): any non-exam grade may be redone once, assuming you turned something in the first time (even if it was a blank piece of paper or showing up to class like a blank sheet of paper, unprepared to perform). I think about one-third of my students take advantage of the redo policy. Combining this policy with a +/P/nP grading system and a set of assignments designed with specific learning objectives (transparently shared with students) is increasing learning for a significant number of students without significantly increasing my grading burden. Here are the logistics, the pros, the cons, and a few concluding thoughts: Continue reading

Meaningful Grading, Is It an Oxymoron?

Grading is such a slippery slope. As a kid, it was why I wanted to teach. I wanted to mark spelling papers with grades so badly. I thought grades were important. I thought good grades meant I was a good person. Very late in life (relatively speaking, that is), the light bulb came on. Grades reflect a combination of educational savviness, work ethic, and aptitude. The mixture is different for every student. They say nothing about being a good person. Most important, they [usually] say nothing about the learning that happened.

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