Making The Grade

by Idea File Staff
Posted in: Fall 2007, Staff Management

Grading student work in yearbook class is complicated because yearbook production has many facets. Many advisers come up with their grading system by trial and error. That is how Greg Keller, adviser at Lincoln High School, Lincoln, Neb., developed his system.

Keller said he has tried several evaluation methods during his 10 years as adviser. His current grading system includes a rubric, a checklist and a student self-evaluation form.

“I use a combination of methods, but the rubric helps students to see the big picture. I also have students do the online selfevaluation form so they can see how they would grade themselves,” Keller said.

Keller spells out in his rubric his performance standards for yearbook creation, deadlines, work nights or weekends, use of class time, organization, working with others, and absences and tardies. He said the rubric helps the performance of his staff.

“If I keep reminding them of the rubric, it works pretty well. Some students don’t really care about their grade, so it’s less effective. But then, any system would be, if they only want to do the minimum to pass,” he said.

While the rubric spells out the expectations, each staff member fills out their own checklist to remember their tasks.

“I have a checklist for kids to keep current throughout the year on their spreads. I also check it again as deadlines approach. I have students sign in and out when they work extra hours, and I sign off,” he said.

With the rubric and the checklist in front of them, staff members of the Links can fill out and submit the online self-evaluation form. The form gives each student the opportunity to really think about what they have been doing with their time.

The rubric, checklist and evaluation form are available on the school’s website for communication purposes.

“I like to have as much information available to students and their parents as possible, so they can’t ever say they never knew or that I never told them,” he said.

Keller has modified his rubric for yearbook sales and business ad sales.

“I have gone back and forth with students soliciting ads. Any more I mostly just have one student — the business manager — contact businesses. Also, our treasurer now handles sales, so I don’t have students selling anymore,” he said.

Some advisers would have to tweak Keller’s grading plan regarding other criteria, such as tardies. In Keller’s yearbook class, a student could have up to 10 tardies and still make an A.

“We have a very large school, and it’s hard sometimes for kids to get to class on time, so I give some wiggle room. If it’s a persistent problem, and if it affects their work, then it will have a negative impact on their grade,” Keller said.

Keller’s grading system touches upon all of the basic tasks that yearbook students must accomplish to produce a book. This may work for you, or it may be a good place for you to start devising your own system.

Yearbook Grading Rubric
The following is a grading rubric, or a list of specific criteria, for your work and performance in this course. If you desire a certain grade for this class, follow the work and performance descriptions that correspond to that grade. Plus or minus grades will depend on variations of the qualities listed.

A = (Outstanding Work/Performance) Has no truancies. Has no more than 10 tardies. Makes all deadlines for individual assigned spreads, including interview, photo, rough draft, copy revision and final deadlines. Turns in all assigned spreads complete, on time, and all revisions have been made with no errors at the time final pages are due. Completes all tasks and fills in checklist for assigned spreads at the time final pages are due. Works extra hours in class after school or on weekends — at least 10 hours documented per deadline. Helps others with their spreads if needed — identifies in writing work done on other people’s spreads, i.e. interviewed three people for Homecoming spread, made copy corrections on Band spread, took photos for Baseball spread, etc.

Contacts at least five businesses to solicit advertising (contact form completed). Sells yearbooks at least twice each week-long selling period.

Always cooperates with teacher. Always cooperates with other staff members. Always uses class time appropriately — doesn’t do homework for other classes during this class, doesn’t engage in unrelated activities when there is work to be done for this class, doesn’t misuse the computers or internet. Always keeps room clean and organized by making sure all materials for individual spreads are filed and put away at the end of each class. Always puts away all general materials in their appropriate places at the end of each class. Always saves and closes all pages on the computer before leaving class each day. Always communicates with teacher and editors and makes arrangements if unable to fulfill any assigned duties.

B = (Strong Work/Performance) Has no truancies. Has no more than 15 tardies. Makes almost all deadlines for individual assigned spreads, including interview, photo, rough draft, copy revision and final deadlines. Turns in all assigned spreads complete, on time, and all revisions have been made with fewer than three errors at the time final pages are due. Completes all tasks and fills in checklist for assigned spreads at the time final pages are due. Works extra hours in class after school or on weekends — at least seven hours documented per deadline. Helps others with their spreads if needed — identifies in writing work done on other people’s spreads, i.e., interviewed three people for Homecoming spread, made copy corrections on Band spread, took photos for Baseball spread, etc.

Contacts at least four businesses to solicit advertising (contact form completed). Sells yearbooks at least twice each week-long selling period. Almost always cooperates with teacher. Almost always cooperates with other staff members. Almost always uses class time appropriately – doesn’t do homework for other classes during this class, doesn’t engage in unrelated activities when there is work to be done for this class, doesn’t misuse the computers or internet. Almost always keeps room clean and organized by making sure all materials for individual spreads are filed and put away at the end of each class. Almost always puts away all general materials in their appropriate places at the end of each class. Almost always saves and closes all pages on the computer before leaving class each day. Always communicates with teacher and editors and makes arrangements if unable to fulfill any assigned duties.

C = (Standard Work/Performance) Has no more than one truancy. Has no more than 20 tardies. Makes most deadlines for individual assigned spreads, including interview, photo, rough draft, copy revision and final deadlines. Turns in all assigned spreads complete, on time, and all revisions have been made with fewer than five errors at the time final pages are due. Completes all tasks and fills in checklist for assigned spreads at the time final pages are due. Works extra hours in class after school or on weekends – at least five hours documented per deadline. Helps others with their spreads if needed — identifies in writing work done on other people’s spreads, i.e., interviewed three people for Homecoming spread, made copy corrections on Band spread, took photos for Baseball spread, etc.

Contacts at least three businesses to solicit advertising (contact form completed). Sells yearbooks at least twice each week-long selling period. Usually cooperates with teacher. Usually cooperates with other staff members. Usually uses class time appropriately — doesn’t do homework for other classes during this class, doesn’t engage in unrelated activities when there is work to be done for this class, doesn’t misuse the computers or internet. Usually keeps room clean and organized by making sure all materials for individual spreads are filed and put away at the end of each class. Usually puts away all general materials in their appropriate places at the end of each class. Usually saves and closes all pages on the computer before leaving class each day. Always communicates with teacher and editors and makes arrangements if unable to fulfill any assigned duties.

D = (Substandard Work/Performance) Has no more than two truancies. Has no more than 25 tardies. Makes some deadlines for individual assigned spreads, including interview, photo, rough draft, copy revision and final deadlines. Turns in most spreads complete, on time, and most revisions have been made with fewer than five errors at the time final pages are due. Completes most tasks and fills in checklist for assigned spreads at the time final pages are due. Works extra hours in class after school or on weekends — at least three hours documented per deadline. Seldom or never helps others with their spreads.

Contacts at least two businesses to solicit advertising (contact form completed).Sells yearbooks at least twice each week-long selling period.

Occasionally cooperates with teacher. Occasionally cooperates with other staff members. Occasionally uses class time inappropriately — sometimes does homework for other classes during this class, sometimes engages in unrelated activities when there is work to be done for this class, sometimes misuses the computers or internet. Occasionally keeps room clean and organized by making sure all materials for individual spreads are filed and put away at the end of each class. Occasionally puts away all general materials in their appropriate places at the end of each class. Occasionally saves and closes all pages on the computer before leaving class each day. Always communicates with teacher and editors and makes arrangements if unable to fulfill any assigned duties.

F = (Unacceptable/Failing Work/Performance) Has more than three truancies. Has 30 or more tardies. Misses numerous deadlines for individual assigned spreads, including interview, photo, rough draft, copy revision and final deadlines. Turns in spreads incomplete, not on time, and all revisions have not been made at the time final pages are due. Doesn’t complete most tasks and doesn’t fill in checklist for assigned spreads at the time final pages are due. Seldom works extra hours in class after school or on weekends — less than one hour documented per deadline. Seldom or never helps others with their spreads.

Contacts one or fewer businesses to solicit advertising (contact form not completed). Doesn’t sell yearbooks at least twice each week-long selling period.

Seldom or never cooperates with teacher. Seldom or never cooperates with other staff members. Seldom or never uses class time appropriately — frequently does homework for other classes during this class, frequently engages in unrelated activities when there is work to be done for this class, frequently misuses the computers or internet. Seldom or never keeps room clean and organized by making sure all materials for individual spreads are filed and put away at the end of each class. Seldom or never puts away all general materials in their appropriate places at the end of each class. Seldom or never saves and closes all pages on the computer before leaving class each day. Doesn’t communicate with teacher and editors and doesn’t make arrangements if unable to fulfill any assigned duties.

Self-evaluation form for students.pdf

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