How very timely. I have been "in discussion" with my teen all week. (He believes grades should be a simple average, I believe the calculation can be more complex.) This will help us both!
You're right, Kathleen!
In the end, you will probably use both the "average" and a more complex calculation. You will need those details when you calculate GPA. Lee tells you how to figure that out here: How to Calculate Homeschool GPA.
Assistant to The HomeScholar
My problem is that when I expect mastery of a topic (better than 80%), such as Math, and the homework and quizzes all show mastery, and then the unit exam turns up a 30%.
We're using Videotext Geometry. Then changed to Saxon. And then to ALEX. One daughter has been dragging herself through Geometry like a dying man through a desert. I'm befuddled, because we cannot seem to succeed or take off. Two years of this with one daughter (who still has not finished Geometry), then the second daughter ends up with the same inability to finish the first Unit. Again with Videotext.
We cannot move forward, worked on unit One for a whole semester. Still trying to master it. How can I ethically give them an A when they are not mastering the material? What exactly is it that we are doing if not teaching for mastery?
When I saw your blog topic, I was hoping for a bit more answers on the ethical side of grading. Because when my daughters think that "no-matter-what" Mom's giving them an A, they don't push through to finish that assignment. So on our home report cards, I gave them what they earned. But since they're in HS, I cannot afford to give them on their TRANSCRIPT anything besides an A, and require mastery. Consequently, they may have a 6 year high school experience. Both want to get into Science careers so I don't think compromising will do them any actual benefit. I considered Life of Fred, but that is not the caliber of math that they need for careers in Science.
Any encouragement and advice would be appreciated.
You're right, Dido.
In the interest of integrity, you can't put an "A" on a transcript if they haven't earned it by your standards. That being said, when I was in high school, my teacher allowed me to try pre-algebra, though I was in a "freshman math" class. I earned a "C" in pre-algebra, but the teacher gave me an "A" in the basic math class, because I had demonstrated skills that were beyond basic math, but I showed that I had not mastered algebraic concepts. In our homeschool, we worked at algebra for THREE YEARS before I finally gave up and changed curriculum. (It's expensive!) Both my girls are thriving with Math-U-See, whereas Saxon did not work for them. Lee often says that a transcript with a few "non-'A's" shows that parents give grades thoughtfully. It actually helps add credibility to the "A's" our children receive. You might like Lee's Free Webinar on Grades, Credits and Transcripts and her Kindle book Making the Grades: A Grouch-Free Guide to Homeschool Grading (A Coffee Break Book).
Assistant to The HomeScholar
Dido, I'm just another mom, with a son struggling with Algebra and Geometry after using Teaching Textbooks. We picked Saxon back up again after abandoning it several years ago...but anyway...I wonder why you "cannot afford to GIVE them on their transcript anything besides an A"? You aren't giving grades. You are assigning a value to what they earned. It sounds like your daughter hasn't earned an "A," based on effort and/or mastery. If they want careers in Science (as does my struggling son), they need to master this or consider other options. Since I don't know you other than this short message, it could be very easy to misunderstand, and if I do so, you have my sincerest apologies, but you may need to step back and ask yourself is this a curriculum problem, and if so, try to find a tutor or a better matching curriculum, or is this an attitude problem, in which case no curriculum will help.
Frankly, I don't see why the home report card and the transcript should have different grades on it. In traditional schools, the transcript should certainly reflect the periodic report cards.