AFL is about accurate grading and communicating students' performance--it is not about rewarding for completion of assignments or about penalizing students for taking longer to master certain skills. With AFL, your teen takes ownership of his/her learning, the focus becomes the learning and not the grade, and the grade itself is a more accurate reflection of your teen's ability.
As the classroom teacher, it is my job to communicate constantly with your student on his/her progress toward learning targets. I promise not to assign "busy work" and can show you with great accuracy exactly where your student stands in relation to his/her goals. The great thing is, your student can tell you the same information.
Okay, but how do I know what my teen's grade is?
The gradebook is divided into two categories: Formative Assessments (records of how students are progressing that don't count for a grade) and Summative Assessments (final performances that actually count for an official grade). If you look at the Summative grades, you'll be able to figure out how well they've done with each individual learning target.
If you aren't grading them until they've got it, won't every kid end up with an A? Aren't you just inflating your gradebook?
Shouldn't our expectation be that every student master every required skill? That's what No Child Left Behind is all about! The purpose of grades is to communicate progress with parents. Try not to get wrapped up in what letter represents their mastery; help them learn to focus on learning for learning's sake.
So if most assignments don't count for a grade, why will your kid do them?
Because the students learn very early that the practice is what gets them ready for the performance. I shouldn't have to put every practice in the gradebook for them to be motivated to learn.
But my son/daughter won't do anything unless it counts for a grade!
Lack of motivation is a completely separate obstacle. Refusing to complete assignments is addressed two ways: student/teacher conferences and the behavior scoring guide. Your student might be asked to work through lunch, to complete alternate assignments, or to reflect on their responsibility, but no one will ever be punished with a low grade. Please discuss all recorded assignments with your teen, and feel free to e-mail or call if you have any questions.
What happened to making children accountable for their actions? They should be responsible and complete all of their assignments and strive for good grades every time.
I agree! What is more accountable than students earning grades based on their actual ability, rather than how neatly they attempted the assignment? What reinforces responsibility more than not allowing kids to take zeros? AFL is about putting the learning into the learner's hands, and giving them the responsibility and understanding of their success to achieve it.
Is this about making less work for you as a teacher? Aren't you just being lazy?
I've actually had parents ask this before. AFL is considerably more work on my part, because it involves assessing every little thing students do--just not necessarily recording them in the gradebook. Furthermore, some students will require multiple attempts to reach a skill, which means I'm constantly reworking and regrading their assignments to provide new experiences. Unlike the old days, when failing meant an "F" and let's move on, my job as a teacher is considerably more complicated than that.