Then at some point early this summer I noticed a few Twitter book chats by math teachers. I tweeted that I really had wanted to discuss this book with my colleagues, but my colleagues had not been interested. And so, the twitter chat #gradesmarter was born. Each week for the past 4 weeks, we have been discussing a chapter in this book. Week 1 was Chapter 1: Grading (July 11th) , week 2 was Chapter 2: Homework (July 18th) and week 3 was Chapter 3: Unit Plans (slow chat over July 22 and July 23rd). This week is Chapter 4: Re-Testing (July 31) and next week (August 7th) is Chapter 5: Creativity. I would encourage you to look up the hashtag #gradesmarter if you weren't able to join the chat to see what was discussed.
What are my takeaways so far? First, I will not be giving a homework completion grade next year. Homework is practice. I'll make note of who is practicing and who is not, but I won't be awarding a grade for that. Grades should reflect the level of understanding of a student. Giving one student an A because they got it and a C to another because they didn't get it is fine on a test or quiz, but not for homework. Second, I hope to make my students more reflective about their own understading as they work through homework and after they get back assessments. I have tried test corrections in the past, but it ends up being more grading for me and I am not totally convinced that the student is always doing their own corrections. (It sometimes seems like the work of a friend/parent/tutor.) This year I will be starting a new job at Kent Place School and having the students be reflective learners is part of the culture of the school and math department. So, I will be looking to them for advice and guidance.
I am so glad that I was encouraged my my math twitter friends (a.k.a. #MTBoS) to lead the book chat for Grading Smarter Not Harder on Twitter. It has forced me to think and share and think some more. Plus @myrondueck (the author of the book) joined us during the chat! Hopefully, what I have taken from the book and the chat will make me a "Smarter Grader" and have a positive impact on my students learning.
PostScript: Are you a new math teacher to twitter? Here are links to some helpful resources. They may be a little outdated, but can help you get started with your own Twitter Professional Learning Community. Twitter Chats for Math Teachers and Math Teachers on Twitter