Just as I was getting ready to head up to my room to see if I could get to Dan Meyer’s webinar this afternoon, my department head called me into her room. I had shared my excitement about SBG with one of my co workers, who had shared it with the department head. To make a long story short, I was told that under no circumstances could I used standard based grading in my Algebra II classes. It would be okay for my Business Math classes but not my Algebra II classes.
After telling my co worker that we couldn’t proceed with our plans, I came home quite discouraged. I teach in a fairly large school in a fairly large school district, and the department head seemed to be more concerned with uniformity between teachers than with what would help the students the most. It took some of the excitement I was feeling for the start of the school year and trashed it.
So I went to the gym and worked out. Some times that works. This was one of those times. My department head’s concerns were twofold: 1. The students won’t do the homework unless it is graded. 2. The students will abuse the formative nature of SBG. I was told that every chapter had to have a summative exam.
I came up with a plan tonight that I think will allow me to move toward SBG and keep her happy. I will continue with my instruction as though I am doing SBG: identifying the skills to be taught in each unit and doing WCYDWT activities as much as possible. The exams will test only the skills listed at the beginning of each unit and will be reported in grade book as individual standards, not just Chapter 2 test.
I will make sure this is acceptable to her before proceeding. In this current educational environment, maintaining a teaching position is more important than winning a battle this year. But I will keep on trying to get the full impact of SBG implemented in my classroom.