Sunday, November 23, 2008

grading panacea / grading Pangea

Blog-neighbor The Science Goddess recently gave a talk on standards-based grading at the National Science Teachers of America conference. It was well-attended, which surprised her.
Instead, I had well over 100 people crammed into the room---sitting in the aisles, up at the presentation table and standing in the doorway straining to listen. I'm not sure how many others turned away when they saw the throng...and I know the fire marshal wasn't poking around because the number of people was well over the posted room occupancy. Wowser.

The experience was very validating---not so much for me personally as for the topic itself. Grading has arrived. When I talked to a few of the attendees about their "hardcore" attitude of staying to the end, they said that this was an area of need for them and I was the only one on the schedule talking about it. Others who chose to stay after the presentation to talk to me mentioned that they were trying to do some of these things at their schools---but it was a lonesome experience. It is indeed hard to implement something like this on your own. I got asked about presenting at other schools. Would I come? Would I talk to more than just science teachers? Would I answer the phone/e-mail if there were questions? Of course. But how sad is that people are all out there struggling on their own little islands of grading.
At my school, a miniature book club has met a couple times to discuss progressive grading practices. I get the same sense that TSG does: right now, standards-based grading is an archipelago in a vast, old-school ocean. But as teachers and principals get excited about it, and as word keeps spreading, within a decade I think we'll see a continent born.


The Science Goddess said...

Thanks for the shout out!

Now that I'm down in your neck of the woods each day, perhaps I could meet up with your family for coffee/dinner sometime.

Dr Pezz said...

I have never met The Goddess in person, but her posts have given me pause and I've changed my grading practices because of her. :)

The Science Goddess said...


Hope you guys make it to Winter Conference. I've got lots of good things to share!