Monday, October 11, 2010

No Names

So this year, I've gone away from grading homework in any way shape or form. I told the students I still expect them to do the work that I assign, but that it is practice and when they turn it in, I will only give them written feedback (comments) on the paper. There will be no grade, not even one for effort. This seems to be going well as students are still doing the practice and are doing pretty well on their skills quizzes. What I'm seeing that is different however is a tremendous increase in the amount of "no name" papers. I have a pile about 4 inches thick hanging on my blackboard. In years past, I've received no names here and there but they have never been in such high numbers. Students have also been more vigilant about going through the no name paper pile. It also seems like the kids feel that they are still doing their practice work, and since I don't grade it, who cares if I know whose paper it was. Assuming they understand the material and any comments that I made were only about silly errors or such, this seems reasonable to me. However, what about the students who did the work and were completely off base? They won't be getting back any feedback as to where they were going wrong. (Hopefully their errors were caught when I gave exit cards the day before anyhow but still...)

So I guess my real question here is how concerned should I be about these "no name" papers. I mean its pretty obvious that kids are still taking the responsibility to do their practice work both by the sheer volume of work I'm commenting on and by their scores on the skills tests. But will this eventually lead to bad habits that could come back to haunt some students later in the year?

I'd love to hear others thoughts on this


  1. Are they given time to look through the pile? To be honest, I have kids who can't even remember what assignments are from day to could be because it's "just another assignment." I could see students being concerned more about large projects than daily assignments.

  2. Becky,

    Oh I certainly think that is one part of it. It is definitely the idea that it is just another assignment- maybe I just have a class with a lot more kids than normal feel that way but it just seems like the pile is exponentially larger than it has been in years past! I do remind them from time to time to look through the pile and they do have time as well. I'll keep plugging away- maybe when their scores start dropping they will pay more attention to the pile (and my comments)!

  3. My trick to deal with this problem is to collect all work as students walk in or out of the classroom. That way, i see every paper and can check for tngs Iike a missing name. It also holds students immediately accountable, and avoids a problem i often have: students who did the work and forget they have it in their bag.

  4. Good points Stephen,

    I'm not sure my organizational style would work that way though.