With this innovative strategy, math students focus on learning rather than their grade

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Sixth-grade teacher Leah Alcala doesn’t use the traditional grading strategy in her math class. Instead of giving grades immediately, she highlights students’ mistakes, walks through them with the class, and posts the grade after the review on their online classroom portal. By giving out the grades later, she says that the focus is on learning the math, and not just the test grade. Watch the video here, from Teaching Channel.

Here are a few highlights:

“For me, I really want every interaction I have with a kid to be a learning moment. What I was finding when I was handing back tests the old way, where I put a grade on it, was kids would look at their grade, decide whether they were good at math or not and put the test away and never look at it again.

“By not putting a grade on the test I feel like what I’m allowing them to do is wrestle with the math that they produced for me first and think of the grade second. When I first did this the number one question I would get every time I passed back a test is, “What’s my grade on this? How many points is this problem worth?” And I had to do a lot of, “Remember, you’re grade in seventh grade isn’t nearly as important as how much math you learn.” So that took a lot of re-framing for them and at this point very few kids will ask me their grade and most of the questions that I get are about the math.

“I am highlighting where their mistake is but I’m not mentioning specifically what that mistake is.

“One piece of advice is that it doesn’t take longer to grade tests this way. I think that was a big fear. It is a similar amount of time and it’s far more enjoyable.

“My hope is that through this strategy they see that studying their mistakes and learning from their mistakes is really what learning is.”

Watch the full video: Tips for Grading: Highlighting Mistakes | Teaching Channel