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11/1/2007 10:53:48 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter -- November 2007

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter--November 2007
Grading Guidelines
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Dear Friends,

In our part of the country, the leaves are turning brilliant colors,
the air is crisp, and plans for Thanksgiving are being made. Likewise,
your family may be busy transforming your home to celebrate the
splendor of autumn. In the midst of these preparations, we want to
turn your minds to the subject of grading (and we don't mean FDA
approved turkeys :)!

During the elementary years, many families do not grade their
children's work but use other means of assessing their progress.
However, once children begin taking high school level courses, it is
important to reevaluate the necessity of grades. Even though grading
is subjective, the grades your children earn provide necessary
feedback for post-secondary school officials and employers to evaluate
mastery in particular disciplines. These grades will not only help
your son or daughter to assess the progress being made in learning the
material assigned, but will also prepare your child for this method of
evaluation as he or she takes advantage of different course options
(co-ops, online courses, college courses, etc.) where grades are
given.

The grades for high school courses become part of your high school
records and will be included on your child's transcript. As a
homeschooling parent, you are free not to give grades; however, be
aware that you may encounter some problems with those who are used to
seeing grades on a transcript, and you may need to provide a
reasonable argument for your decision not to award grades. In
addition, you may be asked to provide an alternative form of
assessment. Some scholarship decisions take into account grade point
averages, so the decision to not give grades may preclude your child
from being eligible for possible scholarship opportunities.

A question we frequently encounter is, "How do I come up with a grade
for a course?" Before teaching a course, it is helpful to decide on a
method of evaluation. Will you give tests and quizzes? Will you assign
papers and projects? Will you give your child any credit for
completing daily assignments? Once you decide these issues, there are
several methods you can use for grading depending on what is being
measured. For example, tests and quizzes may be graded simply by
subtracting the incorrect answers from the total number of questions
and then calculating the percentage grade. In the case of grading
papers and projects, using the rubrics method
(http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4508) is very helpful. This method
will also help you clarify to your child how you will evaluate his
work. For more detail about various grading methods, check out the
grading guidelines (http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4509) on the
Homeschooling Thru High School website.

As soon as your child begins taking high school level courses, decide
what grading scale you will be using and then continue using this
scale throughout the high school years. The consistent use of one
grading scale will facilitate the calculation of the grade point
average shown on your child's final transcript. There is no right or
wrong grading scale to use; you, the parent, can make this
determination. To review how to calculate grade point average and to
see where to insert your grading scale on a transcript, we have
examples on our website under transcripts.
(http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4510)

Finally, here are a couple of caveats to keep in mind when it comes to
grades. Be careful not to inflate your grades. Grades should be
earned according to the level of mastery of material. Remember, the
secret to grading is to provide an honest assessment of your child's
progress and to encourage him or her to work towards the goal of
proficiency in that particular subject area. Ask the Lord for wisdom.
Yes, grading is subjective and is based on many factors, but feedback
is important and grades provide a "well done" or "better work harder
next time!" appraisal for your child. Your teen will benefit from the
time you take to assess his course work.

Regularly recording grades from tests, papers and assignments will
reduce the time it takes you to calculate the final grade for the
transcript. If finding the time to calculate these final grades is
cumbersome while fulfilling your many teaching responsibilities, why
not consider a day off from school each semester for a "teacher
grading day"? You'll have focused time to devote to grading, and your
teen will love the day off!

The holidays will soon be upon us, so December's newsletter will look
at ways to bless others and receive blessings in return.

With hearts full of thanksgiving,

Becky Cooke & Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators


ATTENTION: New AP Course Designation Requirement

Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, the AP requirements have
been modified to require all providers of AP courses (teachers,
homeschool parents, independent learners) to submit a course audit
form and syllabus to AP Central for approval in order to designate it
on the high school transcript as an AP course. To create an account
for submission of these documents, go to the AP Central website,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4511. For additional questions,
please call AP Central at 877.274.3570.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

March 29, 2008 Rhode Island Guild of Home Teachers (R.I.G.H.T.)
Providence, RI (Becky)
More information to follow

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-> How many of your friends would pay your legal fees?

As a member of HSLDA, you have 80,000 families standing with you
to protect and advance homeschool freedoms in the United States
and foreign countries.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1106

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