The Antiques Roadshow Assessment Strategy: The problem with grading…

Come on, let’s be completely honest:  Put your hand up if you watch the Antiques Roadshow for the story behind the ‘old stuff’?  No-one? I thought as much!  Now, who watches it for the price? Yes, yes, as predicted I thought so; you are all culturally shallow and superficial!!

With that bombshell lies the problem with grading student work; you can spend hours giving  your students constructive and specific feedback (the antique’s back story) on where and how to improve their work, however, what’s the first thing they do when they get their work back?  Yep, you’ve guessed it, skip straight to the last page and look for the grade (the antique’s price).

Consequently, if the student is disappointed with their grade they normally have a reacton similar to this poor old Irish gent on the Antiques Roadshow, ‘IS THAT ALL?’

From my experience students tend to focus on the letter at the end of their work rather than the carefully considered feedback throughout.  Does anyone experience something similar?  I would put my house on it!!

So, what’s the solution?  Do we abolish grades altogether and just provide high quality, regular and specific feedback? Or is there a balance to be struck between the two?  Personally, I feel Google Docs could be the answer as it easy to use , with both the teacher and student able to post comments about the work and they are able to have real time conversations if they are logged on at the same time (think Facebook chat).  As well as these features it is also drastically reduces the need to print off 45 versions of the same assignment and any comments that have been posted by the student or the teacher  are printed off on the assignment down the margin.

For more information please check out @jamesmichie’s great 4 part blog post on the use of Google Docs in education.

As ever, thoughts welcome…..

@BebbPEteach

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