What Are Grades and What Do They Mean?

Tonight’s #flipclass chat is about Grades and Stuff.  But what are grades? Grades in my opinion are a score that tells the student how well they played the game of school. Some are really good at it and some do just enough.  Today I had a student reach a C in my class and he said “good enough”.  How do we change this mentality when it has in my case been ingrained for the last 11-12 years.  And in this era of standardized testing what do grade really show.  Are we preparing them to take the “tests” or get ready for the real world? In most cases we are told the tests don’t matter but we have to still prepare them because their scores reflect on the school and district.  And this year we found out that the scores on the “test that does count” (at least on school & teacher grades) does count for funding purposes. So what do grades really mean?

I think we need to look at the assignments first. Do they have meaning? In my class much of the material is new so vocabulary knowledge is important. So does a list of terms count as a good assignment? I can give questions on the topics but again it is for learning the basics before we can go on to bigger and more complex problems. So are these good assignments deserving of grades? What grades do I give? Completion grades?

So I feel without good meaningful assignments grades are just part of the game that show how well the student played it or how much they cared about it.

Taking General Chemistry Mythbusters Style

Last year (2013-14) my General Chemistry class was studying states of matter. I decided to extend their thinking by having them make oobleck.  They had fun playing in the science and trying to decide if it was a solid or a liquid.  Depending on how it’s handled it can be both. After they did the experiment we watched the video below where Adam and Jamie of the Mythbusters tried to walk on water.

After we finished watching the video they all said “Can we do that?” And so after buying a kiddie pool and 150 pounds of cornstarch this is what we ended up with. Enjoy. The students did.

 

Institutionalized

Institutionalized

The Clock Is Ticking

e2020 and online students don’t forget that you clock ticks whether we have a snow day, weekend, holiday, sick day or whatever may occur.  Use the bypass line if needed but don’t forget you might not get cleared right away.

The Website Is Active and Changing

Students and visitors the new website is up and running.  However, if you are frequent user you will notice that the menu bar is changing.  I am adding new content under the LEARN and TEDTalks items.  Other areas like My Blog are getting more content added. Under the LEARN tab you will find a test site for all of my classes.  I will be migrating material over to the area slowly over the rest of the semester.  The LiveBinders will still have current content but this is also another place to find everything.  However, at this time it will only have current material and nothing from the past. If you have any questions please contact me at via email.