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Standards-based Grading Dr. Megan Welsh Neag School of Education Connecticut Assessment Forum 8/13/12.

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Presentation on theme: "Standards-based Grading Dr. Megan Welsh Neag School of Education Connecticut Assessment Forum 8/13/12."— Presentation transcript:

1 Standards-based Grading Dr. Megan Welsh Neag School of Education Connecticut Assessment Forum 8/13/12

2 Data from one suburban school district located in the Southwest (13 elementary schools) Focused on third and fifth grade (~4000 students over two years) Data collected included standards-based grades and state test scores, in two years, and interviews of approximately 40 teachers. Interviews focused largely on mathematics instruction and grading The study

3 Discuss the promise and potential pitfalls of standards-based grading, drawing context from a study conducted in one district. Goals Today

4 1.To communicate with parents about student achievement 2.To provide information to students about their performance 3.To track student progress over time Why grade? Feedback Giving feedback: 1.Ask clarifying questions 2.State what you value 3.Discuss how the performance/ behavior at hand is consistent or inconsistent with your values Therefore, grading is all about values

5 What are your values? Do you believe…. Grades should reflect achievement of intended learning outcomeswhether the school is using a conventional, subject-based report card or a report card that represents these intended learning outcomes as standards.

6 What are your values? Do you believe…. The primary audiences for the message conveyed in grades are students and their parents; grading policies should aim to give them useful, timely, actionable information. Teachers, administrators, and other educators are secondary audiences.

7 What are your values? Do you believe…. Grades should reflect a particular students individual achievement. Group and cooperative skills are important, but they should be reflected elsewhere, not in an individuals academic grade.

8 What are your values? Do you believe…. Grading policies should be set up to support student motivation to learn. A student should never reach a place where there is no point doing any more work because failure is inevitable.

9 The promise…. Standards-based grading is intended to support these values, while also… 1.Improving alignment of curriculum and standards 2.Improving communication with parents 3.Generating scores that can be directly compared with state tests

10 Report cards that… Grade students according to performance level descriptors, usually in line with the state test (Advanced, Goal, Proficient, etc.) Grade according to specific strands or objectives found in state standards documents (or the Common Core State Standards) Tend to be more widespread at the elementary level due to the specificity of objectives What is standards-based grading?

11 Standards-based report cards, some examples

12 1.How to get buy in from teachers, principals and parents? 2.What professional development is needed? 3.How to monitor implementation of the new approach? Some considerations in adopting a standards-based report card

13 1.What grading scale to use? 2.Whether to grade on objectives, strands, or content areas? 3.Which objectives/strands/content areas to select? 4.Whether (and how) to adapt forms or grading policies for English language learners and students with disabilities? Some considerations in developing a standards-based report card

14 If you want to be able to compare report card grades to state test scores, then you should use the state test performance levels. This is easier said than done…. Each teacher is likely to interpret the performance levels differently. What grading scale to use? Year 1 No guidance on how to operationalize each performance level. Year 2 90 and above=Exceeds, 80 and above=Meets, etc.

15 You can get guidance from the state…. http://www.csde.state.ct.us/public/cedar/assessment/ cmt/cmt_gen4_resources.htm But what does it really mean to Meet the standard? Performance Level Geometry and Measurement Descriptors (Grade 3) Below BasicLimited ability to… 1. Solve problems involving time 2.Estimate lengths and areas 3. Measure lengths and identify appropriate measurement units for a given situation 4.Identify, classify and draw 2-dimensional shapes Basic1. Adequately solve problems involving time 2. Marginally estimate lengths and areas 3. Marginally measure lengths and identify appropriate measurement units for a given situation 4. Competently identify, classify and draw 2-dimensional shapes Proficient1. Competently solve problems involving time 2. Marginally estimate lengths and areas 3. Marginally measure lengths and identify appropriate measurement units for a given situation 4. Competently identify, classify and draw 2-dimensional shapes

16 Who is the primary audience? Teachers if grading on specific objectives, they must teach and assess those objectives Parents how much information can they reasonably digest? Whether to grade on objectives, strands, or content areas?

17

18 What is MOST important? 1.Endurance: Skills that will stay with students for a long time 2. Leverage: Skills that are applicable to many academic disciplines (e.g., nonfiction writing, reading tables and charts) 3. Readiness for the next level of instruction: Skills that students must have for success in the next grade/course Which objectives/strands/content areas to select?

19 1.Ask whether the standard is an appropriate expectation without adaptations. 2.If the standard is not appropriate, determine what type of adaptation the standard needs. 3.If the standard needs modification, determine the appropriate standard. 4.Base grades on the modified standard, not the grade-level standard. 5.Communicate the meaning of the grade. Adaptations for English language learners and students with disabilities?

20 Organizing for grading…. 1.Grade book: specify the skills associated with each score 2.What kinds of scores to record in the grade book and how will they be converted to performance levels? 3.Assessments: can focus on one skill at a time, or encompass multiple skills. If multiple skills are assessed, teachers must generate skill-specific scores Some considerations in generating a standards-based grade

21 Decide what kinds of achievement grades reflect Product: what students know and are able to do at a particular point in time Process: students' behaviors in reaching their current level of achievement and proficiency Progress: how much students improve or gain from their learning experiences Some considerations in generating a standards-based grade

22 Grades reflect student achievement at one point in time. Some decisions: -Should grades reflect performance in relation to end of year expectations, or in relation to expectations at the time the grade is recorded? -When a unit is completed and skill assessed in September, should the end-of-year grade be based on September performance or be reassessed? Product

23 Grades reflect student work habits. Some decisions: -How to incorporate incomplete work in grades? -How to incorporate homework in grades? -What to do if a student works very diligently, but does not perform well. Process

24 Grades reflect amount of improvement made over the school year. Progress Student 9/19/89/159/229/2910/610/1310/20Mean Wayne, Bruce 707375788590 9582 Prince, Diana 81 838183 82 Kyle, Selina 9590 857875737082

25 To evaluation of one approach From design considerations….

26 Gathered data in one district, which experienced a headline similar to the one shown previously. The study: 1.Evaluated the degree of consistency between grades and test scores 2. Identified grading practices that yielded greater consistency 3. Determined how much of the difference between grades and test scores could be attributed to subject, teacher, and year 4. Asked teachers about their experiences with the method The study

27 In its 3 rd year of standards-based grading during interviews District grading policy Year 1 Reported by strand or objective, depending on grade level Asked teachers to take students pattern of progress into consideration in generating grades Required teachers to decide for themselves how to operationalize each performance level Extensive professional development on grading, including the importance of grading effort separately Years 2/3 Reported by strand and content area, with strands graded on a -., + basis Asked teachers to grade based on achievement level at the end of the marking period Required teachers to convert percent correct to performance levels (>89%=A) Limited professional development, some to address changes to reporting system. Many teachers seemed unaware of changes in policy.

28 The Study 1.Evaluated the degree of consistency between grades and test scores State test Falls Far BelowApproachesMeetsExceeds Grades Falls Far Below Johnny Sally Bruce CraigJames ApproachesKate Janice Jessica Darren MeetsGlenHuihui Mia Tess Hunter Kevin Becky Will Exceeds Holly Dan Phoebe Ruth Wayne Lesley Victoria Three ways to think about consistency: 1.Do grades and test scores match exactly. 2.Is the list of students rank-ordered by grade similar to the list rank-ordered by test score? 3.How large is the difference between grades and test scores?

29 The Study 1. Evaluated the degree of consistency between grades and test scores Reading Mathematics Writing

30 The Study 2. Identified grading practices that predict consistency Grading practice The extent to which the teacher…. Performance-focused Graded on attainment of standards instead of effort Overall achievement Focused on overall achievement rather than student progress Frequently assessed Regularly collected assessment data for grading purposes Multiple approaches Used assessments that encompass different aspects of a skill Linked assessments to objectives Identified the performance objectives addressed on assessments and maintained objective-based records Clear grading method Could explain a method of converting assessment scores to grades Created assessments Created their own assessments linked to the academic standards. Assessed most objectives Made an effort to assess most objectives in the state standards Standards-focused Focused on assessing standards more than curriculum attainment

31 The Study 2. Identified grading practices that predict consistency -Teachers who adopted standards-based grading practices tended to assign the exact same performance level as the state test -Teachers who adopted standards-based grading practices tended to grade lower than the test in mathematics and higher than the test in writing However, these relationships are weak to moderate - - We found no relationship between grading practices and consistency of rank-order -We found no relationship between grading practices and grading rigor in reading

32 The Study 3. Sources of variation in convergence rates Exact match Rank-order Test – grade difference

33 The Study 4. Teacher experiences with standards-based grades Many teachers faithfully implemented standards-based grading and were supportive However, a few concerns arose……

34 Concern #1 Lack of alignment between the curriculum and the standards -All 3 rd grade teachers reported that the mathematics text was not aligned with state standards -The district put considerable pressure on teachers to follow the text without supplementing it Standards- based grading District-adopted curriculum

35 Interpretability Teachers and parents initially found the system confusing. This made the newspapers. Concern #2

36 Feasibility Organizing for grading was tough. Concern #3 OR Solve word problems Write numbers as words

37 Concern #4 Changing messages/expectations as the report card format changed

38 1.Design a grading system consistent with your districts values… -What skills to include? -What grading scale to use? -Usefulness as a communication tool with whom? -Whether to grade on process, progress, or product? -How to communicate about student behaviors? -How to grade students with special needs? Recommendations

39 2.Communicate about those values -With district employees -With the community -With parents 3.Use those values as context for why you are adopting standards-based grades Recommendations

40 4.Develop a report card form and a grading policy, with input from teachers, administrators, parents, and community members 5.Pilot the report card in a small number of schools and gather feedback from teachers, parents and students about it 6.List to the feedback. Use it to revise the grading policies/report card format Recommendations

41 7.Market the final version of the report card to parents, community members, and district employees. Communicate the reason for adopting the new grading system, again couched in district values 8.Train educators how to use the report card: organizing for grading grading method (process, product, progress) operationalizing the report card scale (e.g., What does Goal look like)? grading students with special needs Recommendations

42 9.Train them again…. Train them every year…… 10.Evaluate the grading system. Share results with teachers, parents, community members and administrators. 11.Explain how you (and they) should use the results to make changes Recommendations

43 Do you have any questions or comments? Dr. Megan Welsh Neag School of Education Department of Educational Psychology 249 Glenbrook Rd. Unit 2064 Storrs, CT 06269 (860) 486-6125 megan.welsh@uconn.edu Thank you!

44 Some good references


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