Last week I spent the day after school was out for Christmas vacation grading projects. I didn’t give traditional finals. While talking to a colleague, they explained they had finally learned the secret to finals—give tests that are easy to grade. This has had me thinking ever since. Are semester finals, actually any test for that matter, for the teacher to grade easily or to learn something about your students and what they have learned?
Yes, my method takes more of my time but when I finish I know more about what my students actually know than a traditional test. I still don’t know all of what my students learned but I do know more about what they did learn to complete their project.
Yes, rubrics help guide students work doing projects and guide my grading criteria. But grading 50+ projects does take time.
Bottom line do easy to grade tests give more feedback about student learning? Do projects really capture students learning either?
I am willing to spend more time going over students’ work to learn about them then I am willing to spend writing an easy-to-grade test. Heck the easiest to grade test isn’t necessarily going to cover what I think students should know: how to think for themselves in all situations.
Since I still believe that I am working as a teacher to help my students think critically, apply information and be successful in the real world, I guess me spending an extra day grading isn’t going to hurt me; in fact I know I am going to learn and even perhaps learn quite a lot!