marking system

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marking system

Unread postby fatma » 24 Nov 2009, 10:40

Hi Lucy,
I work in the British Council. We have no standardized marking system. Each teacher marks her / his own way. Let me explain the structure:

Each course is 40 hours long. We have to give 5 assessments to the students during this 40 hour course - 2 Speaking, 1 writing, 1 listening and 1 reading. From this you can see that 40% of the assessment is of Speaking, and the rest are 20%, all totalling 100%.

We are encouraged to not just use the assessments for grading, but to also see the students' performance from day 1 to the last day and mark them on that, ie, their progress and effort they made.

When we give their reports, the grades are averaged to be out of 10. So every student will be given their Speaking (1 & 2), Reading, Writing, Listening marks out of 10 and it averages so the result is out of 10. TOTAL result is out of 10, passing mark is 5.

Now my problem is that, I need a marking system so that if a student complains about her grade, I can show the student without a doubt how she got that grade.

As a teacher, I need to consider homework, (wh/ I sometimes give w/out planning, ie, I dont plan that every week i will give this much h.w etc, its not organized - probably can't be...sometimes its spontaneously given on my part), how much effort the sts made during class in speaking, how well they did in the listening worksheets, how well they did in writing (spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes), and if they were able to do the reading worksheets.

A teacher has to deal with so much besides all of the above, and with 18 students in the class, its not easy thinking about each and every student, that its driving me crazy.

A student complained to me that she deserved more in her speaking assessment. I didnt give her a lot in speaking because i felt that she didnt make enough effort. she is quiet by nature so she didnt speak much, and i feel she is shy of making mistakes. in her midterm counselling i told her that i need to see her make an effort in speaking. At the end of the course when she complained I told her that she didnt make an effort. She said the magnet students would always be speaking, not giving her a chance. I know that in class I always encouraged her to speak. I told her that there will always be magnet students, she has to take rseponsibility for her effort. So now I feel that I need an organized, structured marking system that can prove to students how they did. I would really appreciate your help.


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Re: marking system

Unread postby Lucy » 26 Nov 2009, 18:15

Hi Fatma,

I suggest that you give marks for various sub-categories of speaking. For example:

Use of vocabulary
Use of structures
Ability to extemporize
Overall mark

I’ve suggested 6 categories; you could choose whichever you think are suitable to your students.

Another interesting approach is to ask students to evaluate their own ability; ask them to use the same categories as you will use yourself and the same grading system (e.g. 1-10, 1-5). You can have a brief talk with each student where you compare the grade you give them and the grade they used in self-grading.

It is very difficult to grade speaking with shy students. If they don’t talk freely in the classroom it can be very difficult to ascertain their abilities. Just because they are quiet, it doesn’t mean that their speaking skills are inadequate. The difficulty here is that you have nothing to base your evaluation on.

I don’t understand the comment about magnet students: is she talking about others’ contribution in the classroom in a whole class setting? If the evaluation is based on participation in whole class activities, it seems clear to me that shy students will come off less well than in group or pair work. I suppose you’re doing it already, but I suggest that you carry out your ongoing evaluations during group work and pair work. When you are doing this, make sure that shy students are not grouped with magnet students.

Assessing spoken English at the same time as teaching is very difficult. There are so many things to think about. Even when you are on a one-to-one basis with students to assess their spoken English you still need to think about the sub-categories. In any case, using those sub-categories will help you at a later date if someone questions their grade.

Finally, talk to your colleagues and/or DOS about how they deal with evaluating speaking.


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