Monday, November 22, 2010

Science Fair - Grading

In my previous post I talk about science fair preparation, in this one I am going to address how I handle science fair grading.

I give a homework grade for the question they turn in during the planning phase (doesn't matter if it is a "good question" or not...they get the full points). I know some teachers require that students turn in their materials and procedures list at benchmark points but I don't. My life is busy enough without adding yet more things I have to review and grade! I figure if they have a decent question they will be fine. I have absolutely no interest in micromanaging their science project. The only requirement I have is if they change their question to run it by me first.

I have a grading rubric but it works slightly differently. All children who turn in a project get a 70% automatically (I don't ever fail a child if they made some attempt and I never make a science fair project such a large amount of their final grade that they can never recover from it). The grading rubric brings that 70% up all the way to a 100% based on what they have (do they have a completed log book...exactly as the instructions state....they are up to an 80%....etc.). Students have an opportunity to get extra points on their project by turning it in early (helps me out grading) and if they get their science fair checklist signed by a parent.

I grade at the time they present in class. Students hand me their log book and go to the front of the room with their board. They present to the class as I thumb through their log book and mark off the rubric. One year I had over 80 boards and this streamlined my life greatly. I tried grading afterschool once but it became so overwhelming I almost cried!

Please note that there are a million different way to handle your science fair grading I am just sharing mine for those who might be starting from scratch. The bottom line is you have to find what works for you and your students.

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