How I hate coming up with a letter grade. How can one letter inform a parent (or the student) of how well (or poorly) the student performed in my class?! But it’s the system we use, so we do the best we can.
I use a TALID system:
T – On Task and on Time
A – Area
L – Language and Listening
I – Interactions with peers and staff; ID card
D – Followed Directions
Every day, every class period, the student can earn up to 20 points (4 points for each and that can be adjusted to whatever would work for you). If you take those 20 points and multiply them by five days in a week, that comes out to a nice round 100%! Every Friday I post a TALID grade (prorated for the weeks where we don’t have five school days). Another quick note: I post everything in percentages because students don’t know if 15 points out of 20 points is “good” or “failing.”
When I first introduce this concept, I use it as a self-monitoring system and a class-monitoring system. We take the last five minutes of the class to determine who should get a 20 and who shouldn’t and why or why not. (The thought just occurred to me to have a competition among the classes to see which one gets the highest average TALID grade each week. That would make a good math lesson, too. Averages, graphing, ….) Sorry, I digress.
I also get a little more strict with each quarter. I may take off only a point during the first quarter, but by the time the third and fourth quarters roll around, they know the drill and I take off more points for each infraction.
At first I was making the TALID grades worth as much as a test grade, but I wasn’t really happy with the way the grades averaged. So this year, I have the TALID worth 35% of their final grade, tests/quizzes are worth 55% of their final grade, and the final exam is worth 10% of their final grade. And I must say that I’m quite pleased with the results. It seems as though the students are getting the letter grade that most accurately reflects their overall performance on tests and on behavior.
Another note about grades: when a student ditches or cuts a class when a test was given, I still make them take the test, but I cut their test grade in half. It’s SO hard to recover from even one zero. Even a 30% or 40% is better than a zero.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a copy of the TALID sheets I use.