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How Do You Grade Tech? I Have 14 Ideas

Posted by on November 10, 2014

gradesIt 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. Now we’re looking for understanding, transfer of knowledge, scaffolding for future learning, habits of mind, depth of knowledge, and a general preparedness for college and/or career. Here are factors I consider when I’m determining grades:

  • Does s/he remember skills from prior lessons as they complete current lessons?
  • Does s/he show evidence of learning by using tech class knowledge in classroom or home?
  • Does s/he participate in class discussions?
  • Does s/he complete daily goals (a project, visit a website, watch a tutorial, etc.)?
  • Does s/he save to their digital portfolio?

  • Does s/he try to solve tech problems themselves before asking for help?
  • Does s/he use core classroom knowledge (i.e., writing conventions) in tech projects?
  • Does s/he work well in groups?
  • Does s/he use the internet safely?
  • Does s/he [whichever Common Core Standard is being pursued by the use of technology. It may be ‘able to identify shapes’ in first grade or ‘able to use technology to add audio’ in fourth grade]?
  • Does s/he display creativity and critical thinking in the achievement of goals?
  • Has s/he progressed in keyboarding skills?
  • Anecdotal observation of student learning (this is subjective and enables me to grade students based on effort)
  • 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, 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?

More on grades

5 Strategies to Assess Student Knowledge

14 Factors to Consider for Tech Report Cards

New Students? 7 Tips to Differentiate with Tech

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

updated 4-18-16

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