Weighted Grading for Foerster’s Algebra

Dear Carrie

Weighted Grading for Foerster’s Algebra 

We are starting our first year of high school, and we are so excited to be using Heart of Dakota (HOD)! Weighted grading, however, is brand new to me. I really appreciate the weighted grading instructions provided in the World Geography guide. What a tremendous help! I know there are multiple math options for Algebra I, so I understand why the guide says to refer to the math text for grading. However, I looked at the Foerster’s text, and I am still at a loss on how to grade it. Any help is appreciated! Specifically, I am wondering what you would suggest for weighted grading in Foerster’s Algebra? Thanks in advance, Carrie!


“Ms. Please Help Me with Weighted Grading of Foerster’s Algebra”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with Weighted Grading of Foerster’s Algebra,”

At the high school level, the way that you weight your grades can vary widely. Almost any combination of daily work, reviews, and assessment grading will work. For example, you could use daily work as 50 percent of the weighted grade, or you could change that percentage up or down. Daily work can just be earned by effort and completion (and correcting one’s mistakes). This is because quite often in daily work the material is new, and as students are trying to learn new concepts they often falter. So, grading students first efforts at something new is not a true grade.

At the high school level, I’d lean toward a weighted grading of 30 percent for tests and 20 percent for reviews.

Next, let’s consider how to handle weighted grading for tests and reviews. At the high school level, completion of chapter reviews often takes up a portion of the assessment grade. So, I might lean toward 20 percent for chapter reviews and 30 percent for tests. Again, these percentages can be changed up or down.

Open-book testing is another grading option used in high school and in college.

Another option that is used for grading with increasing frequency is for tests to be open-book. Or, instead you might allow your student to write down on an index card any helpful formulas or notes to be used during the test. This was something that was done in my college math classes. I learned to write very small!

Weighted grading varies greatly and is the instructor’s prerogative. 

Even at the college level, where tests are weighted much more heavily, there is quite a bit of variation as to how much other output students are required to complete for the rest of their grade. Some courses are almost wholly test-based, and others split the grading out more with a large amount of other output. My oldest son’s college classes have varied widely in how the grading is weighted. It is often the instructor’s prerogative. Since you are the instructor, your prerogative reigns. You just need to be able to justify how you arrived at the grade.


Algebra 1 Choices for 9th Grade

Dear Carrie,

Question:  What are the differences among the Algebra 1 choices for 9th grade math?

Dear Carrie,

We’ve enjoyed using Heart of Dakota for many years, and we are getting ready to start 9th grade high school!  I’m hoping you can help me weigh the pros and cons of the Algebra 1 choices for math. My son will be in 9th grade and in the World Geography guide this year. He finished all of the Singapore Math through 7th grade. In 8th grade, he did Principles of Mathematics Book 2. I’m trying to decide which program to go with next. Could you tell me from your experiences what you saw as pros and cons of each for 9th grade? Thanks so much!


“Ms. Help Me Choose the Best Algebra 1 for My 9th Grade Son”

Dear “Ms. Help Me Choose the Best Algebra 1 for My 9th Grade Son,”

For 9th grade, I did VideoText Algebra for our oldest son, Foerster’s Algebra for our second son, and mathhelp.com (yourteacher.com) for Algebra with our third son. Our oldest son also did No-Nonsense Algebra prior to beginning VideoText Algebra, just because I wasn’t sure where to go next with him in the 8th grade. So, we’ve actually done all the programs we recommend.

Each Algtebra 1 math program has its positives.

Each Algebra 1 math program is different from the others, and each program has its positives. No-Nonsense is definitely a shorter, no-frills Algebra program. It is for the 9th grade math student who struggles with math. VideoText Algebra is either for a motivated, independent student or for a student whose parent has time to be involved in the program daily. Foerster’s is a more challenging program especially in the area of word problems.

There are a few differences in each of the math Algebra 1 programs.

Foerster’s Algebra 1 requires a strong, independent math student. I did not help my 9th grade oldest son with VideoText Algebra. He got through it, but it took longer than anticipated. This was due to the fact that he is a perfectionist and wouldn’t move on until he had mastered the material. I helped my second son with Foerster’s Algebra I. We did not use the videos and just went over the lesson in the book together. Then, my son worked the problems with some oversight from me. When he later moved into Foerster’s Algebra II with the videos, he was able to do his math on his own. I helped my third son in 9th grade this past year with http://www.mathhelp.com. We went over the videos and examples together.

I determined I needed to be more involved in helping with Algebra 1 as needed.

After losing track of my oldest son’s math, I determined that I needed to be involved in helping the rest of the boys with their math. I will say that my oldest son did fine doing math on his own, but I wasn’t able to help him if he needed help. This left me feeling out-of-touch. So, I became more involved with my later boys.

Each of the math programs prepared our sons well for their future math needs.

Each of the programs do a good job of helping kiddos get through math. My sons have varying abilities when it comes to math, and they have all done fine with the programs they have used. Our oldest son was able to test out of most of his algebra quickly for ACE credit which his college accepted. Our second son was able to CLEP out of College Mathematics after doing a quick refresher course. So, we feel good about the math choices we recommend. They do a great job of preparing kiddos for their future math needs.   I hope this helps!


P.S. If you are new to Heart of Dakota, check out our Top 10 Questions!