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How Do You Grade Tech? I Have 14 Ideas.

Jacqui Murray

How Do You Grade Tech? I Have 14 Ideas.It used to be simple to post grades. Add up test scores and see what the student earned. Very defensible. Everyone understood.

It's not that way anymore. Here are the factors I consider when I'm posting grades:

1. Does the student remember skills from prior lessons as they complete current lessons? Can the student use what they have learned and build on it organically and authentically?

2. Does the student show evidence of learning by using tech class knowledge in the classroom or at home? Do they come to class excited because they were able to teach parents how to use their smart phone, or help an older sibling complete a tech task? Could the student use a skill learned in the lab in the classroom during inquiry?

3. Does the student participate in class discussions? Is the student a risk taker, less afraid of being wrong than about losing an opportunity to contribute?

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4. Does the student complete daily goals (a project, visit a website, watch a tutorial, etc.)? Is the student respectful of a neighbor’s work, not interrupting or distracting them, but taking time to help when/if needed?

5. Does the student save to their network folder where work can be accessed from any station, any tech device, anywhere in the school? Or is the student the one always running to the lab with the sad story of how the computer lost their work?

6. Does the student try to solve tech problems themselves before asking for teacher help? If you take a little longer than normal to get to their raised hand, is the student’s mind working on a solution or is the student chatting with a friend about a non-tech topic?

7. Does the student use core classroom knowledge (i.e., writing conventions) in tech projects? Are they comfortable enough with the technology (i.e., keyboarding or internet use) to integrate it with core class instruction on writing conventions and other constructs?

8. Does the student work well in groups? Does the student come to discussions prepared, follow agreed-upon rules, ask and answer clarifying questions, and tie their comments into prior conversations?

9. Does the student use the internet safely, taking into account class discussion on digital citizenship?

10. Does the student understand that thriving in technology is less about accomplishing a computer skill and more about integrating that knowledge into all learning?

1. Does the student display creativity and critical thinking in the achievement of goals? Does this include transfer of knowledge (both from the classroom to technology and vice versa) with increasingly less scaffolding and prompting as the year progresses?

12. Has the student’s keyboarding skills improved? Is the student meeting grade level standards in both speed and accuracy?

13. Anecdotal observation of student learning (this is subjective and enables me to grade students based on effort).

14. Grades on tests, quizzes, projects

I'm tempted to put everything in a spreadsheet, award a value, calculate a total and find an average. Then--Magic! I have a grade! It's risk-averse, explainable to parents and Admin, and provides a comfort zone of checklists and right-and-wrong answers. But, I know I can't do that. In an inquiry-based classroom, too much is subjective analysis, a personal evaluation of the student's uniqueness. I can't--and don't want to--get away from that.

What do you use that I haven't mentioned? I'm already thinking ahead to the next grading period.