Even if you do not assign grades in your homeschool during the elementary years, grading becomes more important during the high school years. For this reason, let’s tackle the whys and hows of homeschool high school grading.
Homeschool High School Grading
The range of degrees to which homeschoolers assign grades is as varied as homeschoolers themselves. Some grade every drawing, worksheet, and written document, while others do not grade at all. The question of whether to grade or not is really a personal one, although I do believe it becomes increasingly important during the high school years.
Why to Grade
Things like student motivation, legal requirements, and a means of showing performance are just a few reasons why families might choose to grade their students.
During the high school years grading can become increasingly important as students prepare to enter college. Grading in the high school years is often used as a degree of measurement for college admissions. Keeping good records that include grades, as well as course descriptions is an essential component for the high school to college process.
What to Grade
Homeschool high school grading can be done in a menagerie of ways. While many rely on tests as a sole measure, a test only really measures what your child doesn’t know. When trying to express what our children do know, grading should include a mix of things, and if we don’t grade with a mix of things, we are putting our kids at a disadvantage.
Even if you don’t want to put an emphasis on grades with your children, make a plan to assign grades to various written papers, projects, daily work, tests, etc. in a more behind the scenes manner. You can look over your child’s work and assign a grade (which you keep a separate record of) without placing the grade directly on their work or directly involving them in that process. In this manner you can still grade, without your student feeling the pressure of grading.
Whether your child is actively involved and aware that you are keeping grades, or not, you still have to add testing into the mix. Many states require homeschool testing, and if you have college bound students many require or would prefer to have exam scores from tests like the SAT and ACT. Even if testing isn’t mandatory, you may want to test your child every year.
Here’s why you should consider testing each year:
- Not testing can lead to test anxiety, and fear of the unknown.
- Testing when the pressure is off can be great practice, without all the pressure.
- Tests can reveal the variations in your child’s learning pattern
- Tests may show areas of strength and weakness. This enables you to structure your teaching to cover the weak areas, and build upon the areas that are strong.
How to Grade
Determine ahead of time what level of work earns what grade and how that will ultimately translate to a high school transcript.
Here are a couple of resources to consult to help you with this:
- Homeschoolers’ College Admissions Handbook
- GPA Help from Donna Young
- Setting the Records Straight: How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admission and Scholarships
It will be up to you as the parent to define what type of work represents an A, B, etc. Once you have that foundation, creating a grade equivalency chart will save you much time and effort.
The bottom line is that you will determine what grading you will use for your high school students. You will determine the standard by which your student is evaluated.
Be sure to spend some time during the middle school years to establish your homeschool high school grading plan. This should include expectations for each high school course, creating your grade equivalency chart, and communicating these with your teen so they know what is expected.