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Grading reading-only coursework

Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:21 pm
by kimkg
Much of our coursework is just done by reading books, with no testing or papers. Therefore, there is nothing to grade. I had been just assigning an A if the books were read, but I don't want my son's transcript to look skewed with so any A's. Should I instead designate those reading-only courses as pass/fail? But there would end up being quite a few if I did that.

An example: we've read a lot of Shakespeare, we watch videos of the plays, and we attend a live play at least once a year. Over four years, I feel he deserves a unit in Shakespeare.

As well, he has read a lot of literature, and could easily have two units just in British Literature (I'm only giving him one). But how do you grade just reading books?? I've never had him do study guides, tests, papers, etc.


Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:01 am
by hscoach
Here is a link that will answer your question: ... rading.php

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:27 am
by kimkg
Would it be appropriate to just put "pass" or "n/a" on a subject where there was no real assessment?

For instance, my son has read enough books on photography/filmmaking to give him a Media Studies 1/2 unit. But do I put an A+ on that?

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:22 am
by hscoach
Here is what Lee Binz says about not giving an actual letter grade:

Many colleges will tie scholarship money to grades and GPA. If you give homeschool grades, you can access that scholarship money. Without grades, colleges may have to ASK you to go back to give your child grades. If they don’t ask, you may simply be out the financial aid.

I know some homeschool parents feel uncomfortable giving grades. Colleges, however, need to be able to quantify schools, and that’s how they do it. I know some parents who have chosen to create a transcript without grades. Many have written me later to say it was a mistake, and to explain how much money they lost in scholarships because they did not give grades.

Remember that public school teachers who give grades are also subjective humans. Like you, they can only do their best to provide grades they know to be honest and true. I encourage homeschoolers to do that as well – provide grades they know to be honest and true. Let the colleges handle it from there.

Copyright © 2010 The HomeScholar (

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar is an expert in how to craft a winning homeschool transcript . She has an award-winning Christian homeschool blog and one of the most popular homeschool newsletters available. You can find Lee online at

Many unschoolers give a grade based on whether or not they believe their child "mastered" the subject they studied. It is really up to you. Do you believe he "mastered" Media Studies on a high school level? Did he learn as much or more than he would have learned in an elective public school class by the same title? If you believe he did, then give him an A. If you think he learned some, but not enough, then give him a B, etc. You could ask him questions on the subject (oral quiz/test) to see how much he learned.