Monday, July 7, 2008

The Mastery Approach and Grading

I tend to use the mastery approach...you know, keep at it until the child understands it well, then move along, and don't worry about grades. But I am having trouble now that Brandon is in high school with grading. Specifically, in math. He is using Teaching Textbooks Algebra right now. We really do like it. There are only a couple of complaints that I have. The first is the flipside of the reason I bought it--I don't have to teach Brandon. That saves me tons of time and energy BUT it also keeps me from knowing where he's at and what problems he's dealing with. Unless he is having trouble, in which case I jump in kind of blind. That happened this week. He had low scores on his last two lessons and so we just went over nearly every problem in both lessons. I can see that he has made tremendous improvement and to be honest, I am not sure why he had such low scores. Perhaps he was tired? Grumpy? Still getting used to his summer schedule? I dunno...but it brings me to my second problem: Do I make him keep the really low scores in his gradebook, bringing down his year's average, or replace the low scores with an A now that I have seen him do the work with few difficulties?

I don't know the answer. At least what I DO know is that Brandon is getting the hang of algebra and seems to be over his fear of math almost completely. And that I can still do most of those problems in my head, LOL. If you have any ideas, PLEASE share them in the comments, because I am pretty open to suggestions right now!

6 comments:

brandy said...

Can you average his grade?

He got an F but you know he knows it so that would be an A so average is a C?

Jenny-Fair said...

I guess I am still not sure about that. I mean, what is the goal? To get a good grade or to learn what you need to learn? And in TT Math 7 they get two tries at nearly every problem...so why shouldn't they in Algebra? I am struggling with my philosophy here, partially due to my own grade struggles when I was in school. I knew the stuff, aced the tests, but got bad grades due to not doing the homework. But does it matter if I really knew it? That's the question.

brandy said...

What do the boys say about grading?

I think as long as they know the material I'd be tempted to give atleast a C, using the idea of averaging it out.

Unrelated but I know you would be interested.. read this

http://www.slate.com/id/2195126/?GT1=38001

Jenny-Fair said...

Thanks, Brandy, it's nice to know I am not the only one!

shadowspring said...

I always let them make up a bad test with a re-test, minus ten point off of their final score since it was a do-over.

Averaging the two grades probably works out about the same.

Mrs. Pevensie said...

Even teachers in public school will often throw out the lowest test score OR let them retest (different problems of course). If they can prove mastery, they deserve a mastery grade (just mho of course). Another thought is to give them the retest and just average that in with all of his grades. Ex: he will have test 31A and test 31B included with his other tests. Is that as clear as mud?