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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Experiment #1

I have begun thinking about how I want to structure my class. I know that I haven't even begun teaching yet, in fact, I am still several years away from certification. Still, I don't think it's too early to begin. So when I have an idea, I am going to post it as an "experiment." Generally, that means I'm not sure how the idea would affect a classroom full of kids, and I am interested in feedback from current teachers. Here is the first of those ideas.

I don't like how the cumulative grading system works. Students who fail early on are forced to carry those grades with them. No matter how hard they work, even if their grades improve, they may be too far in the hole. I know teachers have a little leeway, and could easily weight later grades if the situation mandated, but that still leaves it up to discretion and if I were a student, I would rather have a system with that kind of forgiveness built in. I am thinking about treating classroom tests similarly to the SATs, in at least one respect. Just as a student can retake the SATs as often as is required to improve their score, so shall they be able to retake portions of my tests. Each test will be broken up into skill sets and students will be able to replace grades in each skill as they desire. Students who want to improve, will thus be given the opportunity to do so without being penalized for earlier failure. I realize this will mean a lot of work on my part, since new problems will have to be administered each time. that is a time commitment i am willing to make.

I do wonder how administrations would feel about this. Also, how will students who ace the test in one shot feel? Will they cheer their peers on, or feel resentment toward them? I just don't know, but I'd like to find out.

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