Grade the Work, Not the Behavior
"You can't give a student a zero for cheating. You have to separate behavior from academics." That's what my principal said. Still early in my career, I looked at him as though he'd lost his mind. Memories danced in my head: teachers ripping papers in half or wadding up a student's test and aiming for the trash can.
How could I, as a teacher, ever give a student credit after a stunt like cheating? I took that kind of thing personally. That student needed to be punished . And the best way to punish most students is by giving a bad grade, right?
But I respected my principal. And, after some reflection, I realized that I really do want grades to reflect what my students know , not what behavioral choices they make. So I began to change...
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