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Responsibility Grades


November 10, 2004

An approach I use when I have a particularly unruly group is something I learned from my cooperating teacher when I was student teaching. Students earn a responsibility grade each day in class. They start out with a 100, and can lose points (20 points per category) for such things as being disrespectful, coming to class unprepared, putting down others, not having their homework, etc. I have a clipboard with a chart and students' names, and I keep a daily tally for their infractions. I also make their responsibility grade 20% of their class grade. This system holds each student accountable for their own behavior; students who behave and do what is expected or are responsible receive the reward of getting a 100, while those who disobey and are not responsible pay the consequence by receiving a grade reflective of their behavior. It is amazing how quickly students reform their behavior when they see me get out my clipboard! Not only is this an effective method for helping students be more responsible, it also provides documentation of the infractions they are committing to show parents, principals, etc. You must be consistent with this practice; it may take a few classes to help students 'get it', but trust me, if you stick with it, it will pay off.

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