16 September 2010

Giving Grades (Marks)

Maybe it's because I am used to the grading system in America, but I do not like the grading system here in Moldova. It's on a scale of 1-10 (which is fine), 1 being "not good at all" and 10 being "super amazing". The teachers use, "I will give you lower than a 5" as a threat... but they rarely assign those marks because the school needs to look good so they can receive the funding (yes, I know this happens in America also). But if a students does not perform well on a particular day, the teachers to not have to assign them a mark. So, if a typically unproductive and "bad" student does well on one day, then they will assign a mark on that day. Not everyone receives a mark every day. And, when they do receive a mark, it is not based on their behavior, but rather on the correctness of their speech. When they do (or do not do their homework), they typically receive a mark, but it is not recorded anywhere, nor is it actually looked at for more than a second just to see if it was done (and if it wasn't, well, they may have to perform a dance in front of the class). So, when I assign homework, I don't assign a mark- I just correct it and write comments. I'd rather the kiddos focus on what they need to improve instead of their mark. Now, when it comes to giving a test, of course I will assign a mark. I've also been assigning marks during the day to at least half of the class, which is different for me, but it's how things are here so I will adjust.

But I have one particular student who got lost in English class a long time ago. She has difficulty pronouncing words, reading, and she doesn't do her homework. Maybe it's because a lack of interest, maybe it's because she doesn't care one way or another, or maybe it's because she got lost a long time ago and now one has taken the initiative to help her come back up. So the other day I assigned her a 4. Yes, it's under a 5, but she should have received something lower. She never participates, and when I call on her, she isn't too thrilled (but she does do the work when I call on her). Today, though, she actually volunteered to read an entire paragraph. She struggled her way through it but she didn't stop when the class was laughing at her. Her pronunciation wasn't too great, but she tried. To me, that was the most important thing. So, I gave her a 6 for the day. She got so excited, and I told her (in Romanian so she'd understand) to start participating more often and I will assign her good marks. And, if she wants help studying for the test we will have in a couple of weeks, I'd love to help her.

Hopefully that was encouragement for her to keep trying. We'll see... but today... it felt good to make someone else happy.

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