One Teachers Journey Testing out Ken O’Connor’s A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades

Good morning Readers,

In addition to being a Biology teacher, I am also a Foods & Nutrition teacher.  I know what you are thinking: I have the best teaching assignment a person could ever ask for.  You are right. One movie we watched in Foods with my Grade 9 students was Julie and Julia.  In case you haven’t seen the film, it is about a young lady who undertakes the enormous challenge of cooking the entire Julia Child cookbook (524 recipes) in one year.  Julie documents her journey experiencing the cookbook in a blog that is so popular she ends up being published.

I hope you can see where this is going.  Although Ken O’Connor’s book is out of print, it is still a fixture on many educators’ shelves, and is readily available on Amazon.  According to Pearson who published the book, in order to challenge your thinking as a teacher you should ask yourself these two questions:

  1.  Am I confident that the students in my classroom receive consistent, accurate and meaningful grades that support learning?
  2.  Am I confident that the grades I assign students accurately reflect my school or district’s published performance standards and desired learning outcomes?

My honest answer to both of these is a no with a question mark at the end…or maybe a no with a “but” after it.  It is complicated. Either way it is not a clear, or binary answer for me. I assume that is the case for many educators.  A Repair Kit for Grading has been on my bucket list to read for years; inspired by Julie Powell, I am going to try out all 15 fixes and blog about my experiences.  If we are to trust Wikipedia, Julie and Julia reached 129.5 million at the box office; the worst thing that can happen for me is that my students may learn a little bit better and I will have a blog out there that potentially no one will ever lay eyes on.

One last note before I dive in; if the book I’m following is from 2007 and the movie that inspired me is from 2009, you may ask me why I’m not following more contemporary media.  That’s simple. A child learning about Bohr diagrams or the structure of DNA is the same now as it was in 2007. The physical connections of neurons and strengthening of brain pathways is identical, and it happens because of quality assessment.  A thoughtful science teachers’ classroom, will be conducive to learning in 2007, and will continue to be so today. So for the same reasons people to choose to “live Biblically” for a year in a book published a a long time ago, I am going to trust the lessons in Ken’s book to also be timeless for today’s children.

 

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