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ERIC Number: EJ927076
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
Self-Designed Points: Turning Responsibility for Learning over to Students
Sommers, Jeff
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v38 n4 p403-413 May 2011
In her recent "Teaching English in the Two-Year College" ("TETYC") article, Denise Marchionda argues for a grading system in her first-year writing course that turns over responsibility to students for earning grades. The approach, which she calls "the point-by-point grading system," is a variation on a contract grading approach in which each activity in the course has a point value, and students accumulate points toward a final grade by deciding which activities to complete. Marchionda explains that her objective had been to "give value" to each assignment or class activity in hopes of motivating students to take responsibility for their own grades. Her argument is convincing and describes a grading system similar to one the author has used in his own writing courses in which students earn points for completing major writing assignments on deadline, writing assigned journal entries, participating in peer review workshops, revising their drafts, and attending class regularly. However, in recent semesters, the author has been troubled to see less ambition than he would like on the part of his students. Suggested readings rarely drew any customers, for instance, and most assignments were completed to the letter of the law but hardly ever pushed beyond, for instance, by including additional sources. The students were taking responsibility for earning their points, but they were not demonstrating much initiative. As a result, the author's point-by-point system now includes Self-Designed Points (SDP), which count enough to have a substantial influence on a final course grade. In this article, he discusses how the use of SDP as part of a point-by-point grading system can encourage students to exercise more initiative about their own learning in a first-year composition course.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A