What are we doing to help kids achieve?
Having been inspired by the work of Lauren Stewart’s journey with standards based grading (SBG) I decided to jump in last year by doing a pilot program with one class (check out that story in "A Pilot Program of Standards Based Grading"). This year I received permission to use standards based grading with all of my classes. . I reasoned that this year was going to be a year that was so far outside of the typical box, it would be a great time to try something new and a little innovative. One of the unexpected aspects that I really am excited about with SBG is the idea of the “redo”.
Generally speaking, I and many other teachers historically have not been thrilled with the idea of giving students a “do over” on an assignment. The mindset was that students should have studied and prepared to do the assignment correctly the first time. Also, if a teacher has a 100 students, it would be a nightmare to administer. Several reasonable arguments made me change my mind.
First, how often do any of us ever get anything right the first time? I can answer that for myself easily….never. Another reason for allowing students to redo an assignment is that some students get one bad grade and really struggle to recover. It affects them for the rest of the quarter or even a semester. It also has an impact on their behavior. Finally, I started to ask myself, what is the purpose of what we are doing? Is it to give students grades or to try to get them to a better place through learning? I warmed to the idea of making this change in theory and thanks to Lauren’s help, I was able to figure out the “nuts and bolts” of the redo.
Our classes run on a scale of 0-4. If a student receives a 0-2, they have the option of a redo. The student must fill out a Google form. This form requires them to provide the learning standard and assignment of the redo. They must come in within one week of getting the assignment back and graded. Students have to show evidence of learning before they take the redo. The highest they can score on the redo is a 3. The part about the redo experience that keeps me sane is a Google sheet add-on call “Autocrat”. Essentially, I can merge students' responses into a Google document, paste in a new assignment and hit “print”. It is ready the next day.
The experience of the redo has changed the classroom climate in a positive way. Students have stopped coming in to argue for points. Instead they want to know about the learning objective they have to master. Parents have never complained about this process. Students also know that I truly am on their side. It is all about learning and not about the grade. Especially during this year, most people just need a little extra grace and understanding. I get to spend time with students through the redo in which we can do what I love….focus on teaching and learning.
This year has been one for the books. Why not try something new? You might be surprised. Sometimes great moments can occur during unexpected times. This might be just the experience to build a better culture in the classroom.
Editor's Note: For more information about how Chad is using Standards Based Grading and how he manages "re-dos", check out the recording of his ChemEd X Talk: Journey with Standards Based Grading.
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Competency based learning
We have a system in Australia that allows students three attempts to learn a concept. This education is for vocational based learning and is called competency-based learning. The end goal is to reach an agreed-upon competency, you are not penalized if it takes you longer to get there. It is interesting that this system is being adopted in high schools in America. It is a fairer, learner-centric system.
Competency based learning
Thanks for the email. The school that I am at has a school within a school and they are doing something similar to what you suggested. The struggle for teachers is the nuts and bolts of doing a system in which there are large groups of students on different time lines. We found that it makes it extremely difficult in lab based classes. I would love to hear your suggestions or ideas. Thanks for sharing.
the "REDO" When do you go over the answers with the class?
My policy is not to take late work because we have gone over the answers with the class. If I offer "Redo" it sounds like that doesn't matter because the students have to justify their learning. I LIKE IT! Can you give more details of what a "normal" day looks like in that regard please?
Do you do redo for all assignments and assessments ? or are there guidelines for which are appropriate?
More info in Chad's Talk
If you haven't watched the recording of Chad's recent ChemEd X Talk, I think you will find it interesting! I just added a link within this post but I will share it here too: https://www.chemedx.org/article/journey-standards-based-grading-chad-hus...
Clarification on Redos
Jane - Thanks for your questions. Here is a typical example. In an academic chemistry class, I just gave a summative assessment over one standard in bonding. Here is the standard.
4.0 Types of Bonds. I can identify and describe ionic, metallic and covalent bonds on a micro and macroscale.
It was about 20 different types of questions and problems. I had the questions ranked as "Level 1" (basic), "Level 2" (Meets expectations) and "Level 3" (exceeds). I graded the test and it was really easy with those rankings on the questions to provide the grades "Exceeds", "Meets Expectations", "Emerging" and so on. I do not rank the questions on every assignment but I do find it helps the students. Next, some students go "Emerging" or lower. Here is the instructions on the google form they had to fill out for the "Redo".
1. You must fill out this form for any make-up work.
2. You must fill out this form if you scored a "Not Completed", "Not yet, Requires multiple attempts and assistance" or "Emerging" on an assignment and want to try for a higher grade (called a redo).
3. A 8.5 is the highest you can score on a redo. You may also earn a lower grade.
4. If you are doing a redo or make-up from being absent, you must do it within a week of the original assignment. It must be completed and turned in 1 week from when the grade was posted in the gradebook.
5. You must provide physical evidence of learning or no credit will be earned for the redo or make-up.
6. This form must be submitted by 8 pm if you want to do the make-up or redo the next day.
7. No make-ups or redo´s the last week of each quarter.
I check it at 8 each night. I then hit the "autocrat" add on. This creates the google document that I print out with an alternate assisgnment. For this particular assignment, there is a good "Pivot Interactive" lab that works well. One person approached me and said she forgot to come in when she said she would. She also did not have the correct "I can statement". I explained that I would not provide a redo of a redo and she could try again in the future. Another person came in when she said, did the assignment and scored well. She also showed me the work she did to learn the material a little better. She watched a couple of online videos and showed me her notes.
In general, it has worked well. I have had more students ask, "Hey, I want to do a redo. Can you help me with this concept?" than any other time in my career.
Hope this helps.