- Due dates and homework are important because we need to teach responsibility.
- It's not just content I'm teaching, I want them to have skills they'll need for school success.
- (Writing/Reading/Math/etc) are important even though I don't teach it.
Number 2 boils down to different non-academic factors that teachers value but don't show up on the standards. Organization, neatness, and all that other stuff. Those are perfectly fine to include in their grades but you should separate them out. There always needs to be a chunk (a sizeable one) of your grades that are purely representative of how much the students have learned.
What does that look like? Well for me I'm a science teacher so the topics my students receive grades for this trimester are:
- Forces in fluids
- Chemical reactions
- Periodic Table
- Review (I take the main ideas from previous topics and lump them)
I don't do non-academic grades but if you're big on them, here are some examples:
- Work completion
- Group work
Ultimately if the purpose of grades are to communicate, you need something to communicate how much the student has actually learned.
Completing work does not mean they've learned. A well-organized binder does not mean they've learned. Behaving in class does not mean they've learned. Does it help? Certainly. But it's just like principal checklists that are used for evaluating teachers. Learning goal posted? Check. Bulletin board organized? Check.
I can do that stuff, but that definitely doesn't mean I'm automatically a good teacher.
The non-academic factors are just indicators, just like those checklists we make fun of. We need to separate out the actual learning a student has achieved.