I keep lots of anecdotal notes along with using exit slips and other informal assessments often rather than giving tons that is graded for a grade in the gradebook. At the end of each week, I look over my notes for each subject and roughly "calculate" an effort grade that does get entered into my gradebook. This is entered as 100 points (the same as almost everything else that gets entered) so that I "offsets" some poorer grades when students have worked hard to no avail or haven't worked up to their potential but have done fine with the process.
So what do I look at when giving an effort grade? Here are some things to consider :
- Class participation (whole group & small group)
- Cooperation with group members (we collaborate--A LOT)
- Attitude toward myself, tasks, and others
- Asking questions or for more help when necessary
- Focus/on task during workstations that are less supervised and student-led
I feel that there are sometimes those students that go above and beyond and things just don't "stick". They still have some holes that need to be filled for a better foundation, but they persevered and had a great attitude about it all. What does this do in the long run? Perhaps helps bring that C or D on a test up to a B-. It is still clear to the student, parent, and myself that we have work to do, but that we are all willing to put in the time and effort that it will take to get those misconceptions cleared up!
What is your grading philosophy? Wanting a little less work without losing that push for students? This last quarter is a great time to try something new and see how it works out for you. *Note: It is a big change, so do give it some time to see what you really think. It may feel uncomfortable, but it's totally worth it in the end.*