Presentation on theme: "Our school grappled with grade politics........and lost. -Anonymous."— Presentation transcript:
Our school grappled with grade politics and lost. -Anonymous
I learned... that there are reasons, historical reasons why grading exists. But I also learned from history that there are no good reasons, no sound educational ones, why they should continue to exist. -Anonymous
Letter grades have acquired an almost cult like importance in American schools. -Conklin (2001)
Grades are not inherently bad. It is their misuse and misinterpretation that is bad. -Guskey (1993)
Our Reporting System: Does It Make the Grade? Becky Brandl & Mitzi Hoback Summer 2002
Workshop Goals are to... Explore the advantages and disadvantages of various grading practices and reporting systems Examine current grading practices Review district options Develop sound grading practices and reporting systems
Reflection Time Grading is not essential for learning Grading is complicated Grading is subjective and emotional Grading is inescapable
Reflection Time Grading has a limited research base Grading has no single best practice Grading that is faulty damages students and teachers
Grading Issues Communicated to Whom? Communicate about What? Assess Achievement How? Using what Evidence? What Evidence of Achievement Should be Used?
Is it TIME to change our grading and reporting system?
Developments That Make Change in Grading and Reporting Systems Imperative The growing emphasis on standards and performance assessments makes current reporting practices inadequate Parents and community members are demanding more and better information about student learning progress Advances in technology allow for more efficient reporting of detailed information on student learning
Developments That Make Change in Grading and Reporting Systems Imperative cont. Grading and reporting are recognized as one of educators most important responsibilities There is growing awareness of the gap between our knowledge base and common practice in grading and reporting
What are the main purposes of grading and reporting?
Critical Aspects in Determining Communication Purposes What information or message do we want to communicate? Who is the primary audience for that message? How would we like that information or message to be used?
Grading and Reporting Purposes To communicate the achievement status of students to parents and others To provide information that students can use for self-evaluation To select, identify, or group students for certain educational paths or programs
Grading and Reporting Purposes cont. To provide incentives for students to learn To evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs To provide evidence of students lack of effort or inappropriate responsibility
What are report card grades based upon in a traditional classroom?
Traditional Grading Practice Sources The policies and practices they experienced as students Their personal philosophies of teaching and learning District-, building-, department-, or grade-level policies on grading and reporting What they learned about grading and reporting in their undergraduate and teacher preparation programs
Typical Sources of Grading and Reporting Evidence Homework Completion Homework Quality Class Participation Work Habits and Neatness Effort Attendance Punctuality of Assignments Class Behavior or Attitude Progress Made
Typical Sources of Grading and Reporting Evidence Major Exams or Compositions Class Quizzes Reports or Projects Student Portfolios Laboratory Projects Students Notebooks or Journals Classroom Observations Oral Presentations Exhibits of Students Work
Grades are Communicated to Whom? In the elementary grades… Parents Students Other teachers Administrators In middle and high school… College admissions office Scholarship decision makers Potential employers Juvenile authorities Insurance companies
Reflecting on... Your Grading Practices What are the principles on which your grading practices are based? What are your actual grading practices? What were or are the main influences on your grading principles and practices? How do your grading principles and practices compare with those of other teachers in your school?
How to Grade for Learning Chris Browns Grade Book Activity
Reflecting on... Do the grades awarded fairly reflect the results from which they were derived for each student? If you answered "yes," for which students? Why? If you answered "no," for which students? Why? What grading issues arise from this care study? What revisions to my grading practices do I need to make? What points of uncertainty still exist?
Grades Communicate about What? Achievement Class participation Effort Attitude Intelligence
Questions for Establishing Appropriate Grading Practices Is it appropriate to factor the student's...achievement...intelligence...level of effort or...level of attitude when assigning a report card grade?
Establish Appropriate Grading Practices for Each Question Above Consider arguments for and against each one Create a balance scale reflecting a clear analysis of all factors
If all of these are factored into a grade all with different weights, how can we expect the reader to factor all of those things out and understand what we meant? If you think its possible, you are living in a dream world. -Stiggins
Traditionally, Evidence of Achievement has been based on: Test and quizzes Homework assignments Class participation Teachers' intuition
What Evidence of Achievement Should be Used? Test and quizzes (if they are of good quality, yes) Performance assessments meeting standards of quality Homework assignments (maybe) Class participation (maybe, what standards are in place so that all students are treated the same?) Teacher's intuition (maybe)
Q & A... Should grading be based on "growth over time"?
Q & A... Should you grade "on a curve?
Q & A... When is grading counterproductive?
Q & A... How can cooperative learning be graded?
Q & A... How shouldextra credit be handled?
Q & A... How does a teacher meet the needs of all students in a class including ELL, SPED, Inclusion, HAL and Title I?
Q & A... How can you account forevaluation anxiety?
How is the Traditional Classroom different than a Standards-Based Classroom ?
Traditional Classroom Primary focus on teaching Textbooks guide all classroom decisions Instruction is textbook driven Fuzzy curriculum Feedback to students is letter grades based on course requirements Occasional talk about standards Assessment for grades Responsibility for learning is on the teacher
Standards-Based Classroom Primary focus on learning Standards guide all classroom decisions Instruction based on standards Clear learner outcomes Expectation is ALL students will learn Feedback is specific for each student Assessments integrated into instruction Students take ownership for learning
What are report card grades based upon in a standards-based classroom?
Guidelines for Grading in Standards-Based Systems Relate grading procedures to learning goals (i.e. standards) Use criterion-referenced performance standards as reference points to determine grades Limit the valued attributes included in grades to individual achievement Sample student performance--do not include all scores in grades
Guidelines for Grading in Standards-Based Systems cont. Grade in pencil--keep records so they can be updated easily Crunch numbers carefully--if at all Use quality assessment(s) and properly recorded evidence of achievement Discuss and involve students in assessment, including grading, throughout the teaching/learning process
Examine Sample Report Cards Chart Strengths and Weaknesses
Grading and Reporting System Development The primary goal of grading and reporting is communication Grading and reporting are integral parts of the instructional process Good reporting is based on good evidence Changes in grading and reporting are best accomplished through the development of a comprehensive reporting system
Building an Effective Communication Timeline What is your district currently doing to encourage effective communication? Brainstorm additional ways to increase communication between home and school.
Multifaceted Reporting Systems may include... Open-House Back-to-School Night Newsletters to Parents/Patrons Personal Letters to Parents Report Cards Notes Attached to Report Cards Weekly/Monthly Progress Standardized Assessment Reports Phone Calls to Parents Newspaper Articles Presentations for Community Groups Art Shows/Concerts PTA/PTO
Multifaceted Reporting Systems may include... Evaluated Projects or Assignments Portfolios or Exhibits of Students Work Homework Assignments School Web Pages Parent-Teacher Conferences Student-Teacher Conferences Student Involved Conferences Student-Led Conferences Electronic Reporting Systems
Electronic Portfolios Not Just an Electronic File Cabinet
Think about... What pieces are in place in your district? What do you need to add? Who are the audiences? Are they addressed by your current reporting system?
What Parents Want From a Reporting System More and better information More detailed information, but jargon free Practical suggestions about helping their child
Just Trying Hard Isn't Good Enough In a standards-driven system, teachers are responsible for maximizing students' success.
Sound Grading Practices Students must: Be clear about the achievement targets that have been set Content Knowledge Patterns of reasoning Know what standards they are expected to meet Understand the grading procedures that will be used Gather evidence over time Translate evidence into a composite index Begin instruction with a complete picture of the grading process (share it up front, no surprises, no excuses)
Steps for Revising Grading and Reporting Systems Make decision to revise grading and reporting system Hold initial planning meeting & survey staff Form committee(s) –report card committee –reporting system committee –(see committee guidelines) –(consider parent/patron representation)
Steps for Revising Grading and Reporting Systems cont. Study issues and view samples Visit other schools if appropriate Begin development of grading and reporting system Share draft with entire staff Pilot the system Modify and/or adopt system
Report Card Committee Ground Rules Meeting will begin and end on time Differences expressed in the meeting will not be carried beyond the walls of the meeting room All committee members will participate fully in the work of the group, including completing outside readings and assignments agreed upon
Report Card Committee Ground Rules cont. Every effort will be made to make decisions based on consensus of the group Each member serves as a representative and will take responsibility to fully represent the views of the constituents, to share the work of the committee with them, and to seek and share their feedback
Highly Recommended... How To Grade for Learning: Linking Grades to Standards (Second Edition) by Ken OConnor Available online from Skylight at or call
Also Recommended... Classroom Assessment, Grading, and Record Keeping by Robert J. Marzano, Barbara Zeno, and Jane E. Pollock, 2000, McRel Designing Standards-Based District, Schools, and Classrooms by Robert J. Marzano and John S. Kendall, 1996, ASCD
Also Recommended... Report Card Grading: Strategies and Solutions (video), by Rick Stiggins, Assessment Training Institute Succeeding With Standards: Linking Curriculum, Assessment, and Action Planning by Judy F. Carr and Douglas E. Harris, 2001, ASCD Transforming Classroom Grading by Robert J. Marzano, 2000, ASCD
Report Card Grades Depend on so much... So much depends on them! -Rick Stiggins