Grades

Whether you decide to keep grades in your homeschool depends almost entirely on you unless you live in a state that asks to see grades at the end of your school year. As long as you have some system of tracking progress that others can understand if they need to, you’re probably all right.

If grades make you feel better, use them. Because the point is to understand the material enough that the child gets the right answers, some families have a standing do-it-over rule: If the problem or answer is incorrect, talk about it and then the child does it once more.

Put the pros and cons on the scale. You never know. The concept of grading may seem unsavory in your mind, but grading may turn out a straight-A student.

Pros:

  • Grades give you a concrete measure.
  • Grades tell you how much material the student actually mastered from the information you exposed him to.

Cons:

  • Grading every single scrap of paper becomes overwhelming.
  • Grades assign a number to everything. How can you put a number on effort?
Figuring the grade

Grades aren’t impossible to figure out with a good calculator or sharp pencil, but plopping percentages onto papers does take a moment or two of concentration. If your student is beyond the smiley-or-frowny-face grading method, you probably need to incorporate percentages and letter grades into his life.

One way to figure grades is to keep a calculator handy. Divide the number of problems correct by the total number of problems, and you have a percentage. If your page has 14 problems and your student got 12 right, divide 12 by 14 to get a percentage correct of 86 percent. If your student always gets every problem correct, of course, then she consistently gets 100 percent at the top of her pages with no division necessary.

Weighting Grades

Figuring a grade for the year is relatively easy. Add up the scores and divide by the number of grades given. If you have different types of grades, like daily worksheets, quizzes, tests, papers, projects, etc. You will need a way to distinguish those that count for more. One way to do this is to get an average for each type and then multiply it by a percent.

For instance, daily grades may get 50% of the final score, quiz grades may get 20% of the final score and tests may get 30%. This gives you an opportunity to place more emphasis on test grades.

Another way to do this, especially if you only have daily grades and test grades, is to just double the test grades. If you had 30 daily grades and 6 test grades, add in the 6 test grades again and divide the total by 42 instead of 36. This gives the test grades more emphasis without a complicated weighting process.

In the end you decide how to grade and what grade is earned. I highly recommend you think about that word “earned.” This is their grade and they should earn it. Be fair, give them grace, but don’t pad their transcript with false expectations for their future.

A great article on homeschool grading by Kris Bales, author of the Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler blog can help shed some unbiased light on the grading process. The link is below.

To Grade or Not to Grade?

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