I’ll be very interested to read what The Science Goddess has to say about intrinsic and extrinsic student motivation to succeed relative to grading linked to standards, and how it sorts out with regard for a student’s orientation toward either comparative performance or sheer subject mastery.
I’m thinking it will be a complex set of complex questions, and I would love to see the study design!
Prior to SG posing the question of how grading student output relates to motivation, I pretty much thought of student motivation to achieve being either encumbered or unencumbered by a teacher’s grading philosophy. In other words, poorly informed, idiosyncratic grading practices have the potential to crush student motivation to achieve, and enlightened grading practices simply unencumber the student, but eventually become transparent or invisible and are taken for granted like breathing fresh air.
I spent a lot of time trying to analyze what in the classroom stands in the way of student achievement. For example, for years we tried to improve math scores. It was like banging our heads against a brick wall. We used Northwest Regional Ed Lab’s “Onward to Excellence” model, a no-foolin’ piece of work, to guide us. Our principal was on fire and had the intellect to lead the charge. We barely budged those scores. My thinking lead me to this some years later…
Question: Can classroom assessment issues block motivation to achieve in math?
Possible Motivational Challenges:
1. Formative assessments are included in grades (no room for mistakes).
2. Homework is treated like a test – marked and included in the grade (students develop
“coping behaviors,” a euphemism for cheating).
3. Infrequent processing opportunities during instruction.
4. Sparse student-involved assessment.
5. Zeros or 50% given for late and missing work.
6. Teacher uses mean average (with outlying scores) to compute grades.
7. Make up policies are one-size-fits-all.
8. Missing or unclear exemplars for classwork/homework (should match instruction).
9. Recency of learning not considered in grade.
1. Analyze syllabi, grading policies, classroom rules. Check for research-based “best practices”.
2. Check understanding of computer grading program mechanics.
3. Check for mean averaging with extreme scores that skew the mean. Compare to median average of scores.
4. Check grade printouts.
5. Analyze homework policies.
6. Do classroom observations with focus on classroom assessment and processing as part of
instruction (including student-involved assessment).
7. Develop a processing activity/formative assessment “bank” that teachers can draw on.
8. Emphasize Assessment Literacy and grading for learning in professional development activities.
Note: Many of these challenges and solutions will apply to classes in other disciplines. Anyone care to add to the list?