Features

Complex new grading system transforms AP European History

—By Zehra Madhavan & Hannah Mitlak—

There’s something a little different happening up in room 205.  In his AP European History class, Christopher Bond has redesigned his gradebook in order to accommodate a variety of learners in the classroom.

Bond said he created the new system “so that every student in the classroom feels that they can learn and achieve.”  Under the new system, students who generally perform better on multiple-choice tests get recognized for their efforts, while those who are better at reading and comprehension also get due credit for their work.

The grading process has been split into three components: Process, product and progress.  Nicknamed the “Three P’s Approach,” each component of the system is meant to match up with a different stage of learning.  Process grading evaluates study methods like outlines, while product grading involves traditional assessments such as tests and essays.  The progress component measures student growth from one product assessment to another over the course of each marking period.

The weighting of these three components in the gradebook shifts as time goes on in order to reflect the expected progress of the students.  Initially, process is worth 50 percent of the grade, while progress counts 20 percent and product 30 percent. In the last two marking periods, product grades are worth 50 percent and the other two count for 25 percent each.  The product section is designed to become more important as the year progress and students familiarize themselves with AP-level work.

After two marking periods, Bond said he’s satisfied with the new strategy.  “The Three P’s approach is starting to really take hold, because it’s causing students to reflect on their practices and to begin to sit and have discussion on how they can improve their learning strategies.”

Student responses to the new system have been mixed.  “Now that I have experienced it for a little, I see the flaws it has,” senior Connor Munsch said.  “One challenge I have faced is the pretest.  We don’t review it in class beforehand, and we don’t even talk about it.  So if you didn’t do the reading or didn’t understand, you’re out of luck.”

On the other hand, some students said they’ve really enjoyed the new system, despite the challenges involved.  “I really like the new way of grading since it reflects the actual work that you do in the class.  If you work hard, you will get a good process and progress grade.  If you don’t, you won’t get as good grades,” junior Madison Hughes said.

Others praised the class’ overall structure.  “His new program is an interesting new way of learning that is completely different than the usual lectures that we’re used to,” junior Sarang Alladi said.  “I would advise any student who would like a challenge and a new way of learning to take this class and see how much they can learn.”

Although it has presented students with unique challenges, Bond’s Three P’s approach promises to provide unique long-term benefits.  “I think once you realize that learning is difficult but that it doesn’t have to be scary, then it becomes a life-long learning habit,” Bond said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s