How to Grade Interactive Notebooks in Algebra 1

“How do you grade interactive notebooks” is a common question I get.

And, to be honest, I don’t.

Not always anyways!

To Grade or Not to Grade?

Some years I grade students’ INBs when I’ve found they need some extra accountability, but other years I do not. Since I allow students to use their INB as a tool on their tests and quizzes, I find that’s naturally motivating enough for most students to keep them up. 

That said, I have graded them enough to build an efficient method that doesn’t take much time of you. 

How to Quickly & Painlessly Grade Interactive Notebooks

The best way to grade interactive notebooks is NOT to collect them. Seriously, don’t collect them (it’s the worst). Do this instead:

At the end of a unit while students are testing, do your notebook checks. I walk around with photocopies of the table of contents and I grade each page on a 2-point completion scale. 

Depending on the group of students you have, you could also have students grade it themselves and turn it in with their test. 

What is the Purpose of Grading INBs?

Before grading interactive notebooks, I would pause and ask why you are considering it. Are you grading it just for the sake of grading? If so, you’re creating a lot of extra work for yourself. 

If your students need that accountability, then go for it!

I’ve found that many years I’ll do graded notebook checks over the first semester of the year but will not do them over the second semester because students have figured out how to properly upkeep their notebooks. 

At a certain point, the notebook really is a tool to be utilized and not keeping it up has natural consequences. Students seem to figure that out without having their notebook graded. 

My final thoughts on grading:

Do it, or don’t! It’s totally up to you and what fits the needs of your students. Don’t feel like you have to, but it may be useful early on and you can step back from it as you progress throughout the year. 

This post is part of the INB 101 – The Basics series.

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