If I had only known!!
So my first job started after the school year started--six or eight weeks in. I was finally ready to be a teacher. I learned real quick that I needed to find a better way to grade homework. My then-boyfriend, now husband, helped me grade everything because I stupidly graded homework for accuracy. Soon I started grading in class using a rubber stamp. It is amazing how teenagers will vy for a smiley face stamp. If I forgot to stamp, they made sure that I knew it. So I started using stickers for A tests. Again, a great motivator. A few years ago I laminated some 'A' sheets and hung them on my bulletin board to advertise A test grades. It is so funny to watch the students come into class to see their name on these sheets.
In AP classes I havent found a way to motivate them to increase test scores. The first test in the AP classes at our school are typically horrible. In fact, each year I only had one student pass. So I tell each new year that the first test grade will most likely disappoint them. I advised them to read the chapter (a novel concept). This year's class thought I was lying to them. So on the fly I mentioned, if you pass the first test, I will make a banner and hang it outside the door. You get your name on the banner if you just PASS the test. They showed me! Out of 2 classes I had the following distribution:
I was stunned and happy. I know 7 still failed but they failed well. My lowest grade was 58%. So, I made the banner and hung it outside. The students loved it. Many said that this was the first time they every read the chapter for a test. And, they are seniors!!!
If I had only known that a banner would motivate them to pass a test! I would have done it sooner!
And, some say that this stuff is too childish for high school students. Pushaw!