The GREAT Rubric hit Pella High School at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year causing some confusion for the students. Teachers are supposed to test out the GREAT Rubric in one of their classes this year, and they will have to use it in every class next year. The “GREAT” in the GREAT Rubric stands for Gives Effort, Responsible, Engaged in Learning, and Treats Others with Respect. In the Gives Effort category, homework is included. If you don’t do your homework, you will get a 3 instead of 4. The GREAT Rubric doesn’t count towards your grade. So, why have homework when it’s not graded? Honestly, I don’t know.
Now, ask yourself this: what’s the point of homework? If it doesn’t go towards my grade, why do it? Believe me, many students are asking the same questions. In many cases students are only doing homework when they feel like it, which leads to not having any practice. Teachers have even changed the name of “homework” to “practice problems,” so kids don’t feel obliged to do them. In my opinion, if you have to change the name so then students aren’t worried if they don’t do them, you shouldn’t assign the work.
Putting the GREAT Rubric into Pella High School makes me rethink why we didn’t assess these categories on the rubric before this year. Why didn’t we grade kids on being engaged or treating others with respect? Did it only come to mind that maybe we should show parents that their kid is being a good student? Also, if getting a 4 instead of 1 still doesn’t affect your overall grade. You can still get an A on your report card, but have a 1 out of 4 in every class.
Like every high schooler, I’m looking at colleges. So, how do colleges know that I got a 4 on my GREAT Rubric if they don’t know what it is? Not every school is using this. It isn’t a national standard that we have to use the rubric. I’m more worried about my own grades then I am on how I rank in a teacher’s eyes. They can’t hold me back for getting 1s. They can’t hold me back if I don’t try on my homework.
The only way I see the GREAT Rubric succeeding is that they make it into a grade. Homework is not the only thing that counts towards the GREAT Rubric, and if it count towards your grade, maybe students will try harder in school. Students could become more respectful, engage more in class, and become more responsible. Now, I’m not saying make the rubric a large grade like a test, but give the students something for their effort.
•Tiffany Van Gilst, firstname.lastname@example.org