B GradeOver the last year there has been in gnawing in the back of my brain; this persistent itch.  This itch is me rolling around in my head the question, “What is a “B”?” grade mean on one of my many questions?

This question has been forming for years.  My teaching focus is on my kids analyzing, understanding, and connecting information.  I give a lot formative and summative checks on this focus.  Grading doubts form when it comes to grading answers to my questions.  “A” answers are easier to identify; the student understands.  Now I do give myself a way to identify those exceptional answers that show both understanding and connection; those answers clearly earn an “A+” or “A++” with a lion drawn on the paper.  *Post a comment if you don’t know about what a lion answer is in my class and I will attach that chapter from my book that will probably never see the light of day.

My problem?  Can an answer or a project earn a holistic “B” grade?  Can someone “almost” understand? Can someone almost follow instructions.  I think a “B” answer became for me a well written incorrect response.  Does incorrect understanding deserve a grade that could put a kid on the honor roll?  I am sure math teachers struggle with this same kind of thing when considering partial credit.

In the second semester my grading has changed to the following:

  • A+: Lion’s work; work shows complete understanding and connection to outside variables.
  • A: Excellent response; clear understanding.  No violation of Fassold Rule #19 – Saying a thing does not make a thing.  Answer completely supported.
  • A-: Response answered question accurately.  Supported, but may have missed another obvious support that would have strengthened response.
  • C+: Well written and supported response that was incorrect.
  • C:  Faithful incorrect response
  • C-: Work done for completion; little connection to question
  • F: Incomplete