In my Standards-Based Grading post last weekend, Anon Y. Mous asked that I explain the rationale behind each of the core guidelines involved in the S.B.G. system. I think it’s a good suggestion and here is the fifth core guideline. Please comment with any corrections as I am still learning this new system. 🙂
If a student is absent, should the student be able up the work no matter what? May a student make up missed assignments regardless of the reason for the absence? According to the S.B.G. system, the answer to each is a resounding “yes.”
A student’s behaviors, like attendance, should not impact a student’s academic grade. The impact–positive or negative–of attendance will show itself during the assessments of the standards. Attendance could be a part of a citizenship grade.
A school’s intervention system should be part of the accountability system for students. If a student purposely misses a class, the intervention system would then be used to provide the consequence outside of the classroom. Inside of the classroom the impact is felt when the student completes a standards-based assessment and when the student attempts to catch up on the missed work. Some activities cannot be recreated, and many teachers will not have the time (or the inclination?) to reteach a lesson purposely or inadvertently missed.
I have always maintained that I don’t care the reason for a student’s absence. Either the student is present or the student is not; I can help those present and cannot help those who are absent. I do not track excused or unexcused absences. I just don’t care. I focus on helping the students when they are in my room. I always have two versions of every test, and almost every other assignment is written in a manner that an extra day or two makes little difference. The only question I want answered is this: can the student perform the skill or prove content mastery?
I don’t use a participation grade based on attendance either. I don’t believe students should receive points for what they are supposed to do. To me, attendance is a basic expectation and will not be factored into a student’s grade. The results of attendance will be seen, much like a student’s homework completion rate, during assessment time.
P.S. I don’t really like my tone in this post, but I’m not feeling well and don’t feel like doing any editing. Sorry. 🙂