Thursday, June 30, 2011
It was disconcerting recently to realize that my grading policy is still dysfunctional. As much as I've moved towards standards-based grading for content, end result evaluation, and student-chosen exemplars, there's vestiges of teacher control and obedience.
With my spectacular grad class this summer (see here and here), there's still an attendance policy. I felt a conflict because going by my own policy would mean giving a grade or two below A to students who exceeded my goals for the course. I asked the students how they felt about it. All inservice teachers, they asked "were the goals met?"
I was lucky in that this was about an A, A- or B+. No heart-rending decisions. But in another situation, it easily could be.
In the end I did the right thing. But now I'm considering how much coercion I want in my syllabi. I make class worthwhile, as much as I can. (This class's most frequent student evaluation comment was wanting more classes to explore what we did in more depth.) Do I have to try to make my students come to class? Is it coercion or support? You know, to help them make the "right" decision.
As it is, I get requests to have more due dates, and require things from them more frequently. Do they need it? What can I do instead, with which I can live? Help!
Images: from the excellent but on hiatus wetherobots.com.