Gradually over the past few weeks, students have started to ask for their grades. They say they’re getting their percentages for other classes and they want to know what number they’re sitting at in English.

It bugs me that students think an English grade can be arrived at by simply adding up a list of marks. Some have already asked whether I will “bump up” if they are only a couple of percentage points away from the next grade.

I realise it’s my fault since I obviously have not been sending a clear enough message in my attempts to incorporate descriptive feedback and more assessment-for-learning practices.

I just thought that my students would have a better sense of their skills and not need a number to understand how they are doing. (Secretly, I had hoped they wouldn’t get so caught up in accumulating marks since report cards won’t be completed as part of job action.)

So I’m hoping what I’m going to try next will help them connect their efforts with a better understanding of how their skills are coming along.

My Term-End To-Do List:

Student Self-Assessment – One idea I took away from Pam Hansen and Jacob Marten’s recent workshop is to have students participate in their term-end assessment.

So, I’m going to ask students to help me determine their (hypothetical) term 1 mark:

-I’ll have them fill out a summary of their assignments;

-Reflect on their strengths and weaknesses (with references to their assignments for supporting evidence);

-And suggest a letter grade;

-Then we’ll meet to discuss the term and the student’s self-assessment;


(I’m a little worried at how this will all play out, but not having to produce a formal report card alleviates a bit of the deadline pressure that I would normally feel at this time of year.)