June 30, 2004
I used to spend days grading my students' notebooks. A few years ago, I designed a rubric, which breaks down the notebook grade into classifications and specifies the maximum number of points each classification is worth, totaling 100 points. My classifications are: * Pages (are the pages there? if a page is missing, points are deducted, depending on how many pages are in the notebook.) 60 points; * Organization (are the pages in the right order? minus 1 point for each page out of order.) 15 points; * Table of Contents (is each item listed? minus 1 point for each page not listed.) 10 points; * Progress Sheet (students are required to keep track of their homework and test grades on a sheet I give them at the beginning of each grading period. is each homework or test grade listed? minus 1 point for each assignment or grade not listed.) 10 points; * Labels (is the name of the assignment on the paper? minus 1 point for each missing label.) 5 points. About a week before notebooks are due, I give each student a copy of the rubric. On the day notebooks are due, I either put 2 students together or deal a deck of cards to put students in pairs. (I do not let them choose partners.) They grade each other's notebooks using the rubric. They also use the classroom table of contents and progress sheet, which are posted on chart paper and updated daily throughout the grading period. I walk them through the procedure the first time we grade notebooks, but after the first grading period, the students get the hang of it, and I just walk around and supervise. I collect the rubrics and record the notebook grades. It has saved me a tremendous amount of time. We update the table of contents and progress sheet continually, students are required to bring their notebooks to class every day, and students know a couple of weeks in advance of when notebooks are due, so students' notebooks should be organized at all times. Therefore, a student whose notebook is unorganized and not ready to grade on the day they're due receives a zero.