Grading Ideas - AP CSP

I am going into my third year teaching AP CSP using Code.org. I am looking for ideas on how everyone approaches grading throughout the year. I typically will assign grades for the projects and assessments at the end of each unit and those are graded based on rubrics and accuracy. However, the daily assignments/lessons are a little different. They have the opportunity to participate in the lessons online and there are questions throughout. Do you assign participation points? Additional assignments? If any of you could share how you approach your courses, I would appreciate it.

I am concerned as in the past I have given participation points to completing the lessons, simulations, and app lab activities. However, it may not be an accurate picture of the student’s skills with regards to the tasks. I want to be fair and honor the time students put into the course, but at the same time I want their grades to reflect their skills and to relate to their performance on the AP exam.

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This is a great question! My approach is pretty simple: 10 points per lesson. Unless there is a rubric (most projects), in which case I copy the code.org recommended rubric and create points for each row to get a good target, usually more than 10. For instance, the 2020-2021 Unit 1 project rubric has 6 rows, so I’m making each row worth up to 3 points for a total of 18. I am also making the prompts in code.org for lessons 12 and 13 worth 3 points, so now I’m up to 24 points for the project, which feels right to me. I do all grading in Schoology which feeds to PowerSchool.

I do read student responses in code.org and if they are not well thought-out then they lose a couple of points. For lessons that are programming, if the code isn’t perfect, then they lose points accordingly. I insist on good indentation, comments, etc. I allow anything to be fixed. If an assignment is late, the most they can get is 9 points. I typically end up with nearly every student earning an A, with a couple of Bs and maybe a C. For an elective that is an AP class, that is a good grade distribution in my mind… I need to keep the class attractive enough or I won’t get enough students for it to run next year!

This approach is surprisingly time consuming. The teacher tools are not very robust in code.org. It is hard to tell if a student fixes or completes an old assignment, and even just navigating through it all I often end up with a bunch of browser tabs open.

I don’t see my approach changing too much this year, even though we are in a hybrid teaching model. I too would love to hear how others tackle grading!