“Why do you have us do things that aren’t for a grade?”

This question was recently asked of me by a student when I was collecting warm up sheets for the week. I do not grade their warm up sheets, but I do respond to every Free-Write Friday and usually comment on another day’s warm up. I would never stop doing this because it has been amazing how much I have learned about my students through the warm up sheets. 

I don’t know if my response was a good one. All I could think of in the moment was, “These help you think more mathematically, and I collect them to know more about you and so you can get feedback from me.” I also could have talked about how their grade, in my opinion, should be a reflection of their math knowledge, so grading things like warm ups and practice for completion wouldn’t be good feedback in their grade.  

Sometimes I have a hard time motivating my students, especially the new ones, to do classwork when it’s not for a grade. Some of them say that I’m the only teacher they have that doesn’t put a grade on everything they do. I know that at least some of the other math teachers don’t grade everything because I’ve asked them, though. I think students sometimes feel that they need some sort of reward for their efforts. I say that their efforts will show when they take their assessment. I think some of them need some time to adjust to that. 

Do you grade everything? What would you have said to my student?

Une question difficile. 

2 thoughts on ““Why do you have us do things that aren’t for a grade?”

  1. I think you had a really good response. I don’t grade everything I collect either, but the students don’t necessarily know that I don’t grade it. Sometimes I collect it, look through it, and throw it away. And in some of my classes I feel like I have to tell them I’m going to collect it in order to get everyone to do it ( unfortunately).


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