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Re: grading strategies

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From: Dennis Freeman (freemad_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Mar 29 2002 - 07:32:04 PST


on 3/26/02 2:02 PM, Elizheisey@aol.com at Elizheisey@aol.com wrote:

> Dennis,
> If you would be so kind I would be very interested in any details you might
> provide about what you are giving your HS kids as rubric/self assess before a
> project.
> Beth in Ohio

Beth,
To start with, I train all my kids in self-evaluation at the start of the
year. I tell them that since the class is self-evaluated, that they will be
responsible for evaluating their work against standards and keeping records.
I usually set the standards, but I often involve kids in this, as well.

As an example, in beginning pottery, we have the following standard for one
of the second semester problems (they get to choose 4 problems to solve from
a list of 8):
Matching Set:
1. Must be equivalent to 4 handled mugs.
2. Must match in size, proportion and/or decoration
3. Any functional form (nesting bowls, decanters, etc.)
4. Must meet Functional Quality Standards (this is a separate set of
standards - no cracks, glazed interior, etc., that appears on the standards
sheet)
5. Draw first on grading sheet and get instructor approval before starting.
6. Decorate using one or more of the following techniques - carving,
stamping, sprigging, sgraffito, stain, wax resist.

Students write these standards on a grading sheet, which they put in their
grading file. Thet work on the project, and when ready to grade at
greenware, they evaluate against descriptors for each of the standards
(exceeds standards, meets, etc,). The descriptors might say something like:
QS 1 - 4 mug equivalent:
MEETS - project involved as much work as 4 handled mugs. Forms are thrown
or constructed with good technique and craftsmanship.

There are similar types of clear descriptions for each of the standards.
Students compare their own work with the descriptors, and rate them using
the rubric. They then assign a grade to the work and bring it to me. If I
see something that looks off, we have a discussion like, "Can you show me
how you met this standard?" or, more often, "You really did more than
required on this part. Maybe you should give yourself a higher grade."

In general, I find that kids adapt to this quickly. I have found that
quality is improved because kids can see what is required and often choose
to exceed it. Highly subjective judgements like "creative" or "beautiful"
are avoided until we've gotten to the "meets" level, which is a "B". Once
there, the students are willing to do extra work or planning in order to
exceed the standard. I should say, however, that this is easier in
technically oriented classes like pottery than in drawing or advanced art.

All grades for each grading period have a self-eval component as well.
Students fill out a self-eval and turn it in, along with the grading file
and portfolio or sketchbook. I then conduct grading conferences with all
students to determine a grade for that term. The process has resulted in
fewer conflicts over grades, more open communication and higher quality.

Hope I answered your question.
Dennis in Wyo.

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