Deciding how you will grade your students on Cognitive Tutor is not an easy task. Do you base it on the time clocked in? Or how many problems solved? How about the number of errors they make? Above all you want to be consistent and fair. If I’m not, my students will definitely let me know about it.
Giving everyone a 100 for effort sort of makes the students loose respect for the software program, minimizing its effectiveness to engage students and push them to excel without frustrating and alienating them. (In my opinion.) But maybe effort grades work for you and your students. Every teacher has to decide for her/himself.
Cognitive Tutor Teacher’s Toolkit offers a wide array of reports that you can view and print out. My grading system for Cognitive Tutor is based on one or two of these reports. The only way to really familiarize yourself with the specifics of each report is to get your hands dirty, jump right in and browse through the different reports.
I believe Kasey and/or Brandy came up with some kind of formula putting into account the number of problems completed, the amount of time spent on the program, and the number of errors made. To be totally honest, I don’t have the time, or have made the time, to do this complicated, convoluted algorithm in order to assign a CT grade. Sure I can probably come up with some kind of excel program to make my life easier, but like I mentioned earlier, it’s not a priority at the moment.
My students receive weekly daily grades for Cognitive Tutor. At the beginning of this year, I gave students the goal of completing so many units or sections per week, however long it took them. As the fall semester went along, I noticed that a student one week would complete a unit in 30 minutes while this same student took five hours the next week. I felt guilty for having my diligent students work so hard to meet my haphazard goal. Over three hours on CT per week seemed a little obsessive for even me.
So then the weekly goal was revised to say that students needed to put in a minimum of one and half hours per week. This worked well for most of my students. However, I had a handful of students that beat the system by putting in their required time but only completed a fourth of the six weeks curriculum. I added an additional requirement that students had to complete the curriculum by the end of the six weeks. This particular goal counted as four daily grades.
This system works for me. I might have to change it next year, depending on the students I have. What do you do?