New Grading System

We have tentatively received Mr. Ulbrich’s approval for a new grading policy for Photoshop/Digital Photography this semester. This  is new territory for us, but I am very excited about the potential for this to really draw out your best work. The new grading system should also make you feel comfortable giving your best effort and not worrying about your work satisfying a set number of traits. Everyone should be able to receive an A in this class, as long as he/she is willing to put in the work.

Our new grading system is borrowing from Mike Skocko’s “World’s Simplest Rubric™”, which he uses in his classroom in California:

A: You Gave it Your All
You tried your absolute best. You fought through difficulty, tried to help yourself first, looked for help second, asked for help third, and came up with the best product you could create. Once you finished something, you asked yourself, “Is this really my best? What could I add? How can I improve this?”

B: Great, but…
You tried, but not hard enough. You went a little bit beyond your first-ditch, bare minimum effort, but stopped once things got tough. You miraculously found some time to socialize, surf the web, play some games, and/or do work for other classes.

C: No Second Effort
You really didn’t try very hard. You gave the bare minimum effort to throw something together and then didn’t put in any more effort. You found plenty of time to socialize, do work for other classes, play games online, and/or any other off-task behavior.

D: Are You Kidding Me?
You didn’t even finish. You gave so little effort that you did not even finish the assigned learning activities and/or projects. Instead, you invested most of your time in socializing and using the computer as a toy, rather than a tool. This also includes not taking the time to do the assignment correctly, such as not making sure you have a definition that at least seems like it might make sense.

F: Who are You?
You stopped coming to class/ You did nothing (or refused to do the work).

Who Judges Effort?

Formal one-on-one review will take place every three weeks. Discussions will include progress, goals, ideas, dreams, etc.
Each student will inform me of the grade he/she has earned. While I reserve the right to disagree, I believe that
virtually every student will know fairly accurately where he/she stands according to this rubric.

There we have it. It should be pretty darn hard to get an F in this class, but you’re also going to have to work pretty darn hard to get an A. Some of you may be satisfied getting a C for bare minimum effort. If so, I will be working with you on that and providing “intervention” (read detention) as needed to hopefully improve your work ethic.

The main point of using the new grading system is this:

We all come into room 219 with different levels of experience, creativity, and belief in ourselves. The goal of this grading system is for you to stop worrying about satisfying broad requirements and getting specific grades. Instead, I want you to focus about learning and earn those grades as a happy consequence. This rubric gives plenty of flexibility so that, regardless of whether you are a Photoshop master or total beginner, everyone will learn as much as he or she possibly can in this class and, as a result, can earn an A.

If you have questions/concerns about the new grading policy, please feel free to come talk to me before or after class, during mentoring, or during 6th (lunch) or 8th (planning) period. Parents with questions or concerns can reach me at

Otherwise, please fill out the “poll” below to indicate you have read & understand the new grading system.

Mr. McCullough