Grading and Conduct Policies (Video)

  • SumoMe


In this video, we’ll be discussing grading and conduct policies. We’re going to help you in developing your grading and conduct policies for your classroom. What is your grading system going to be based on? Are you going to randomly give students a grade? Or are you going to use some type of point system? How much weight will class participation be in your system, based in comparison to how much weight will performances be? Or special rehearsals? What about the weight of test grades? Do you have a specific discipline system? Are there specific boundaries you will have set or will set for your kids?

How does the student earn their conduct grade? This is usually based on an infraction systems only, meaning that all students usually start out with the highest grade, and then it goes down when the student accumulates infractions. Please visit the article on this website concerning classroom atmosphere and classroom management, and we’ll get more in depth information for you on there.

Are you going to be a stickler for the boundaries you set, or are you going to just wait until you’re frustrated and maybe have written some detentions or referrals before you give a certain conduct grade? How are you going to communicate with parents when a student is not cooperating with you in the classroom? See that article there, read the article and you will get some more ideas. I want to divert from my non-biased presentation and give you a suggestion of going to It’s by Doug Sorensen and he has a great system that can be adapted to any classroom, and it has all the foundations and fabulous system that has been working for me for many years.

What are the things that would cause you to write a detention for a student? What would you have the student do during the detention? Are you even allowed to give detentions in your school, because in many schools students are bused in and they can’t come in any earlier or stay later due to a detention? So you’ve got to consider the school rules. What about a referral? What would it take for you to write a referral to the dean’s office? Do you think that you’re program will grow if you are one of those teachers who are constantly assigning these forms of discipline, detentions and referrals? Or are there alternative ways for you to maintain good classroom discipline, and not have to use those types of forms?

I suggest that you stick with the school policies on all of these things for your first year or two until you develop your own systems that work along with the school. The danger is that younger teachers, you want the kids to like you, so you might not want to follow all the rules for your school. The problem is that by relaxing the standards to get them to like you, you will also be hurting your good kids, and your reputation will be that of a slacker or a pushover. Kids really do want you to hold them to higher standards, and give them boundaries that are upheld. That gains you respect with the students. If the stove is hot, it’s hot. Don’t have it be hot one minute or one day and not be hot the next. Be consistent!

The best young teachers that I know are also the ones with high standards and fair and consistent policies. All behavior is a choice. It’s not me against my students, it is them against their own choices. I can love them and discipline them, I can talk with their parents about poor choices with a smile on my face. This is ultimately the highest form of my respect toward them. My kids know that I respect them greatly. I call them sir/ma’am, I build my relationships with my students every single day. I’m very positive, and I try to pull the best out of my students. I notice the great things they do, and I let them know those great things that I see them doing and hear. At the same time, when I’m teaching I don’t play games with the students. When I’m on the podium, that’s a place of great respect, and respect works in every direction–from them to themselves, to their neighbor/their partner in the class, to the front of the classroom (their teacher), to their equipment, and to the sheet music and to the books, to the actual music itself. Whether we’re listening to music, or playing. All classroom behavior should be based upon the word respect.

So if you can begin to think about your system for discipline, your system for grading, there are many ways to attain grades for students and I believe the way the education system is going now is it’s got to be documented progress. Are the students taking vocabulary tests, are they taking rhythm tests, are they taking scale playing tests and exercises? Are you testing them on their performance music? There’s a lot of ways to positively attain grades for students. Playing exercises out of the method books. So we’re going to be talking a little bit to you more about that later, about a system for grading and a system for helping make progress, but think about how you want your students to be graded. How are they going to attain their grade? Think about how they’re going to get a conduct grade.

I hope this video helped you out a little bit. Think about it. Again, talk with other people. Talk with experienced teachers. The greatest fear that I hear of students that are in college or interning, it’s always discipline–how do I discipline? It’s not something that’s always covered in college classes. So begin to talk about that now, begin to ask teachers–classroom teachers. Ask your professors, ask your other first-year teachers that you know–people who just graduated from your college or university last year. What kind of things are they experiencing? And again keep seeking help on a website like this one. Again, if you have any questions or any topics that I might not have covered, please give them to us in the suggestion box and we will try to answer your questions.

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Jim Matthews

About Jim Matthews

Jim Matthews is a veteran band director of 30 years at Jackson Middle School in Titusville, FL. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Florida State University. His bands continuously received superior ratings at band festivals. The bands have received the Florida Bandmaster’s Association Five, Ten, Fifteen, Twenty and Twenty-five Year Superior Awards for continuous Superior ratings. He is presently the Brevard County Music Instructional Coach for all secondary band directors. Jim co-founded the FLBandWorkshop for band directors held each summer in Titusville. It is a hands-on, in-depth workshop. For more information see FLBandWorkshop on FaceBook. He is a member of Florida Bandmaster’s Association, Music Educator’s National Conference and Phi Beta Mu – an International Honorary Band Director’s Fraternity. He is also a National Board Certified Teacher in music. For more information, see the About section.


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