How to Grade Homeschool Papers

Young girl doing an assignment with mother in background.
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During the 2011- 2012 academic year, 3 percent of school-aged children in the United States were homeschooled, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. If your child fits into this group, grading her assignments is part of the homeschooling process. Scoring your child's papers means creating your own rubrics, abiding by state standards, and impartially assessing her progress. It is important to keep records on your child's assignments; in many states, you may need to demonstrate grade level proficiency in order to have your student's work officially acknowledged.

1 Scoring Rubrics

Before you can begin scoring your child's papers, you need to set a grading standard. In traditional schools, teachers often use rubrics that assign point values to various goals or expectations for the paper. According to the International Reading Association website, a rubric decreases subjectivity when grading papers. You can use a ready-made rubric or create your own by assigning number scores to goals or expectations. For example, for an introductory paragraph you might give a zero for "disorganized and not engaging," a one for "provides a basic overview," a two for "in-depth overview" and a three for an engaging and concise presentation.

2 State Standards

Just because your child isn't attending a public school doesn't mean that he won't need to meet state learning benchmarks. Using state educational standards to assess your child's papers helps to ensure that he is mastering the knowledge and skills that fit each subject and grade level. For example, Indiana's standards for fourth graders state that students at this grade level should be able to describe the organization of concepts, ideas or sequential events.

3 Assessing Milestones

Even though your state has standards that you should use to measure your child's schoolwork while at home, the Common Core State Standards Initiative also provides milestones that your student should reach. These nationally unified standards outline grade-level learning goals in math and language arts. These research-based standards offer you a way to subjectively grade your child's papers while making sure that she is working at an age-appropriate level. As you read your child's papers, refer to the Common Core standards for her current grade. For example, according to the Common Core standards second grade students should be able to gather information and answer questions when a source is provided to them.

4 Break It Down

If grading a paper as a whole is challenging to you, break down the assignment into percentages for different elements of the paper. The Home School Legal Defense Association suggests dividing the total score into percentages for content, grammar and effort. Start with 100 percent and choose how much you want to weight each area. For example, if content is your high priority in this assignment you can score it at 70 percent. That leaves the remaining 30 percent for the other areas. You could split it with 20 for grammar and 10 for effort. If content is 70 percent, take that score out of 70 points. Do the same for 20 and 10 points. Add up each individual score to get the total. The total point value will equal the overall percentage for the paper. For example, a 66 in content, 18 in grammar and 9 in effort equals 93 percent.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.