The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When THe Boy Is Away, Mom Can Work

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I sent the Boy to doggie day care for the day. That should allow me to get some work done.

My syllabi are almost finished. I had to sent an email to the chair of the English department to clarify a couple of thing. I should get cracking on my tracking calendar and the first couple of lectures.

I am trying something new in my Critical Thinking class. I going to use a descending grading system. Everyone will start off with the maximum number of points in the course. Then, the student will have to maintain his or her "A". Their grade will descend, based on their scores on assignments. This semester, I will be using Web-CT to post their grades, so they can track their progress. (Thanks Weezy for the tip with Web-CT!)

I had a professor in law school who did this. She started the course by saying "All of you are starting with an "A". It is up to you to keep it." It made all of us very conscious of our work, becuase we wanted to maintain that "A". In the end, I did get the "A"and I worked very hard to maintain it during the semester.

Now of course, I will have to include very specific language in my syllabus stating that not everyone will end up with an "A" and that the student's grade will descend based on their scores from assignments. I am sure that those who are conscientious will maintain their "A", but I wonder about those who are not so conscientious. Will that student maintain success if it is given to them up front? Will there be more complaining? Will a student take responsibility if he or she sees that it is up to them to keep a grade?

What do you think? Have any of you used this kind of system?


Weezy said...

Glad I could help! if you ever need any help with the gradebook feature, just let me know!

Anonymous said...

I'll be interested to hear how your system works.

Aside from the positives that you note., I can think of one possible negative: the loss of hope. Sigh , at some point the student realizes that she has lost too many points for the grade she desires. Will that bring her motivation to a halt? Will you find yourself in many niggling little discussions about points?

I am really eager to see how this works out.

You may be on to something.

Seeking Solace said...

Weezy: Thanks! I might take you up on it!

Anonymous: Thanks for raising a great point. Will the student nick pick over points. Maybe.

Mouse said...

As a perpetual mature student...
I'd work hard to maintain an A but lose heart if I knew that I'd fallen too far from grace to end up with one...
I'm new BTW...
Bet you didn't know you had mice, did you?

comebacknikki said...

Hmmmm, that sounds very interesting. I've never tried before, but I am definitely interested in hearing how it goes - it sounds like something worthwhile!