Things I Like – More Authentic Grading

There’s a lot of talk in Education about strategies and ideas “That Work”.  Sadly, these conversations have generally implied two things:  That all other things before have not worked, and that this idea is the one and only answer.  “Things I Like” is simply about thing I use in my room – and I’m always looking to improve

Mr. Kramp was a mentor teacher to me for many reasons, the primary one being we are both hilariously short.  He  taught social studies when I arrived at Robeson.  He had an incredible way of dealing with students – tough but fair, friendly but commanding.  He could rock a Phillies shirt and shorts 5 days a week and still be the most respected guy in the building.

Sadly, Mr. Kramp has left us for an administrative gig1, but I still remember one of his great ideas.  Mr. Kramp started American History with a quiz on the 50 states.  It was a simple as possible – here’s a map, label it.  The catch was a student would earn above an 80% or receive a mandatory make-up (and an F).  That’s it, that’s all.

It’s beautiful in its simplicity.  How can you talk about slavery, he would pontificate, if you don’t understand which states are in the South?  Either you do a great job or you didn’t do well enough – there’s no middle ground.  I loved this because it made so much sense.  “Do great or try again” is the “realest” grading system I’ve seen.  I relate it to students as a driver’s test, a college placement test, or the army physical exam. You can or you can’t – that’s life.

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  1. his responsibilities include ignoring my happy hour invitations