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NESA Leadership Conference Istanbul, October 24, 2014

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1 NESA Leadership Conference Istanbul, October 24, 2014
Leading the Way to Grading Excellence NESA Leadership Conference Istanbul, October 24, 2014 Presented by Ken O’Connor Assess for Success Consulting 1

2 “Terms (are) frequently used interchangeably, although
they (should) have distinct meanings.” McTighe, J., and Ferrara, S., “Assessing Learning in the Classroom”, Journal of Quality Learning, December 1995, 11 2

3 What Do These Terms Mean?
MARK(S)/SCORE(S) (marking/scoring) 7/ 4 3 2 1 the number (or letter) "score" given to any student test or performance GRADE(S) (grading) A E B G C S D N F 42 the number (or letter) reported at the end of a period of time as a summary statement of student performance 3

4 no grades – “In a perfect world there would be
at least, not as we know them now.” 4 Brookhart, S. Grading. Pearson Merrill, Upper Saddle River, NJ

5 5

6 What is better is standards-based grading.
SBG is grading that accurately portrays student proficiency/mastery. Grades are based on standards not assessment methods, levels of proficiency not points, and they are not contaminated by non-achievement factors. 6

7 3. Improves communication 4. Consistency/Fairness
Why Standards-Based Grading and Reporting? 1. Mandate 2. Supports learning 3. Improves communication 4. Consistency/Fairness 5. Traditional grades are broken. 7

8 8

9 Principals/School Leaders
principals can and do have huge impact on how schools operate and on the quality of teaching and learning; principals must provide informed leadership to promote and ensure effective communication of learning, primarily through grades and report cards; must build shared understanding of purpose, procedures, policies, principles, and practices (professional judgment, motivation and fairness). 9

10 Garnet_hillman Q2 Describe traits of successful school leaders & administrative teams in SBL/SBG cultures. #sblchat 10:14 AM - 9 Oct 2014 10

11 @CVULearns A2 Admin must be knowledgeable about real SB They can't just know the theories, they need to get involved in planning and classes. #sblchat 9 Oct 2014 11

12 Brian Durst ‪@RESP3CTtheGAME
A2 Successful SBL school leaders must be learners. They are supportive, persistent, & poised to handle resistance. Act w purpose ‪#sblchat 10:16 AM - 9 Oct 2014 12

13 Ms. Woodcock @mswoodcockmath A2 Supportive of the learning process, comfortable with explaining the grading shift to parents, other concerned parties #sblchat 9 Oct 2014 13

14 Brian G Seguin ‪@Seguin_B
A2: Successful leaders in a SBL/SBG environment model expectations and collaborate/reflect with staff routinely on the process. ‪#sblchat 10:20 AM - 9 Oct 2014 14

15 Randy Squier ‪@rsquiercacsd
A2 sbl leaders allow time to meet standards for Ts and Ss. Make it safe to fail and try again. ‪#sblchat 10:18 AM - 9 Oct 2014 15

16 Procedures what schools require teachers to do;
should be public, published; in the past often limited or non-existent; now often developed by committee or task force; should be derived from policy and make mission statement ‘live.’ 16

17 Purpose • Communicate the achievement status of
students to parents, (students), and others. • Provide information that students can use for self-evaluation. • Select, identify, or group students for certain educational paths or programs. • Provide incentives to learn. • Evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs Guskey, Thomas R. (Editor), Communicating Student Learning: The ASCD Yearbook, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 1996, 17 17

18 communicate student achievement
“the primary purpose of grades (is) to communicate student achievement to students, parents, school administrators, post-secondary institutions and employers.” Bailey, J. and McTighe, J., “Reporting Achievement at the Secondary School Level: What and How?”, in Thomas R. Guskey, (Ed.) Communicating Student Learning: ASCD Yearbook 1996, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 1996, 120 18

19 Policy broad statements of general intent;
policy sets out the general direction for what the school/Board seeks to accomplish. - The director is responsible for the implementation of policy through administrative policies and procedures. - policy has legal or quasi-legal status. 19

20 xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx 20

21 Wellesley is adopting a new shadow-grading policy
for first year students. Wellesley has instituted a shadow-grading policy beginning with students entering in the fall of These students will receive pass/no pass grades in all of their courses for the first semester of their first year. The students themselves will be given a report of the letter grades that they would have received - "shadow grades" – but these will not appear on their official transcripts and will not be released outside the College.  http://www.wellesley.edu/registrar/grading/grading_policy/shadow_ grading_policy Accessed on October 11, 2014 21

22 MIT Freshman Grading In the first semester and the January Independent Activities Period (IAP) freshmen are graded on a Pass or No Record basis in all subjects they take, where P (passing) means C- or better performance. Freshmen earn no credit for subjects with D and F grades. In the second semester, freshmen are graded on an A, B, C or No Record basis. They continue to earn no credit for subjects with D and F grades. Accessed on October 11, 2014 22

23 Principles the set of values that orient and rule the
conduct of an individual or organization; often expressed in mission/vision statements. “The International School is a community that is committed to excellence. We inspire students with a challenging, international education, based on an American curriculum, in a nurturing learning environment that promotes responsibility and respect. We aim to develop socially engaged, self-motivated, creative, compassionate individuals who will be a force for positive change in their communities and the world.” 23 Source: an international school in Asia.

24 Freshman grading is designed to ease the transition from high school by giving students time to adjust to factors like increased workloads and variations in academic preparation. A, B, and C grades are used during the second semester so that freshmen can begin the progression to regular A-F grading in the sophomore year. Accessed on October 11, 2014 24

25 This policy provides first-year students with the opportunity to learn about the standards for academic achievement at Wellesley and to assess the quality of their work in relation to these standards. It further enables them to use their first semester to refocus attention from grades to intellectual engagement and inspiration and to learn how to grow as a learner in college. Accessed on October 11, 2014 25

26 26 Assessment in the MYP aims to:
• support and encourage student learning by providing feedback on the learning process • inform, enhance and improve the teaching process • provide opportunity for students to exhibit transfer of skills across disciplines, such as in the personal project and interdisciplinary unit assessments • promote positive student attitudes towards learning • promote a deep understanding of subject content by supporting students in their inquiries set in real-world contexts • promote the development of critical- and creative-thinking skills • reflect the international-mindedness of the programme by allowing assessments to be set in a variety of cultural and linguistic contexts • support the holistic nature of the programme by including in its model principles that take account of the development of the whole student. MYP; Principles into Practice. May 26

27 “. . . the primary purpose of classroom assessment is
to inform teaching and improve learning, not to sort and select students or to justify a grade.” McTighe, J. and Ferrara, S. “Performance-Based Assessment in the Classroom”, Pennsylvania ASCD 27

28 Practices #1: PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT Traditional view Objective good!
Subjective bad!! Strive to be objective! 28

29 Practices #1: PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT
“All scoring by human judges, including assigning points and taking them off math homework is subjective. The question is not whether it is subjective, but whether it is defensible and credible. The AP and IB programs (are) credible and defensible, yet subjective. I wish we could stop using that word as a pejorative! So-called objective scoring is still subjective test writing.” Grant Wiggins, January 19, 2000 answering a question on chatserver.ascd.org 29

30 “I define professional judgment as “decisions made by educators,
Practices #1: OBJECTIVITY AND PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT “I define professional judgment as “decisions made by educators, in light of experience, and with reference to shared public standards and established policies and guidelines.” Cooper, D Redefining Fair. Solution Tree, Bloomington, IN. 13 30

31 “Drive” by Daniel Pink Practices #2: MOTIVATION
Motivation the ancient drive to survive Motivation rewarding good work with pay, benefits and promotions                      - centres on "Type X behaviour” where people are motivated mostly by external rewards. 31

32 Practices #2: MOTIVATION
Pink believes it is time for a "full scale upgrade" to Motivation intrinsic rewards that play to the intrinsic satisfaction of the activity. Motivation 3.0 is based on what Pink calls "Type I behavior," where the main motivators are the freedom to do what you want, the opportunity to take a challenge and fulfillment by the purpose of the undertaking. Source- review by Richard Eisenberg in USA Today, January 25, 2010 32

33 Practices #2: MOTIVATION
“All kids start out as curious self-directed Type I’s. But many of them end up as disengaged, compliant Type X’s If we want to equip young people for the new world of work - and more important, if we want them to lead satisfying lives - we need to break Motivation 2.0’s grip on education and parenting Unfortunately, as with business, there is a mismatch between what science knows and what schools do. . . We’re bribing students into compliance instead of challenging them into engagement.” Daniel Pink, 2009, Drive, Riverhead Books, New York, 174 33

34 According to Pink the keys to Motivation 3.0 are
Practices #2: MOTIVATION According to Pink the keys to Motivation 3.0 are Autonomy Mastery Purpose 34

35 Practices #3: FAIRNESS What does FAIR mean ?
“All students are given an equal opportunity to demonstrate what they know and can do as part of the assessment process. Adaptations to assessment materials and procedures are available for students including but not restricted to students with learning disabilities, to allow them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, provided that the adaptations do not jeopardize the integrity or content of the assessment.” Adapted from Manitoba Education and Training at 35

36 Practicality procedures and principles have to actually
work in the classroom; means that we have to follow the spirit of the agreed upon principles and the published procedures but sometimes have to adapt to make them ‘work’ at different grade levels and in different subjects. 36

37 - quality assessment (Doing it Right)
GIVENS - quality assessment (Doing it Right) - student involvement (Using it Well) 37

38 SIX MUSTS - standards-based - no single subject grades
- performance standards – levels of proficiency not % - achievement separated from behaviors - late, missing, academic dishonesty, attendance - summative only - no mark, comment only formative assessment more recent emphasized - some, not all evidence - number crunching - no means, no zeros 38

39 for you, school, students, parents
For each Must Why? for you, school, students, parents Why not? 39

40 intended learning goals, which means very limited
Base grades on, and provide grades for, the intended learning goals, which means very limited use of single subject grades. 40

41 Part of a Traditional Report Card
English B Mathematics C Science F Social Studies A Phys Ed A Music D 41

42 “The principal limitation of any grading
system that requires the teacher to assign one number or letter to represent learning is that one symbol can convey only one meaning. . . . One symbol cannot do justice to the different degrees of learning a student acquires across all learning outcomes.” Tombari, G. and Borich, M. Authentic Assessment in the Classroom, Prentice Hall, 1999, 213 42

43 xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 43

44 44

45 2. Use performance standards with a limited number (2-7)
of clearly described levels which means no use of a percentage scale. 45

46 “Performance standards specify ‘how good
is good enough.’ They relate to issues of assessment that gauge the degree to which content standards have been attained They are indices of quality that specify how adept or competent a student demonstration should be.” Kendall, J., and R. Marzano, Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education, First Edition, McREL,1997, 16-17 46

47 = For classroom assessment Performance Standards
OVERALL descriptors of levels which form the base for SUBJECT/ scoring tools (rubrics, etc) GRADE LEVEL/ TASK SPECIFIC work samples (exemplars) + commentaries on the work samples = Adapted from New Standards Sampler, National Center on Education and the Economy, 47

48 Wow! Got it! Nearly there! Oh no! Oops! 48

49 49 MYP; Principles into Practice. May

50 Cut Scores out of 20 Difficult skills, concepts, Easy skills, concepts
assessment assessment Below Below 9 50

51 51

52 3. Limit the student attributes included in grades to
Individual ACHIEVEMENT, which means no penalties and no bonuses. 52

53 53 O’Connor, K. How to Grade for Learning. Third Edition. Corwin. 2009, 40

54 Meeting timelines is the expected behavior
Dealing with Late Work Meeting timelines is the expected behavior but when that are not meet then 1. Support not penalties 2. Behaviors/Learning Skills 3. Clarity/Communication 4. Consequences 54

55 Grades should not be inflated by the use of extra credit or bonus points but students should always be able to provide evidence that they are achieving at a higher level. It is not about the quantity of points, it is about what the evidence shows about the quality of achievement. 55

56 Academic dishonesty is a behavior which should have behavioral consequences which should be indicated in the school Code of Conduct. Assessment evidence needs to be accurate so we need untainted evidence, thus the assessment consequence is “DO IT AGAIN HONESTLY.” 56

57 “No student’s grade should depend on
the achievement (or behavior) of other students.” Source: William Glasser 57

58 4. “Grade performance, learn from practice,” which means
‘comment only, no mark’ formative assessment and homework has little or no place in grades. 58

59 “The ongoing interplay between assessment and instruction, so common in the arts and athletics, is also evident in classrooms using practices such as non-graded quizzes and practice tests, the writing process, formative performance tasks, review of drafts and peer response groups. The teachers in such classrooms recognize that ongoing assessments provide feedback that enhances instruction and guides student revision.” Jay McTighe, “What Happens Between Assessments,” Educational Leadership, Dec. ‘96-Jan. ‘97, 11 59

60 “Provide risk-free (that is, ungraded,
formative assessment) opportunities . . . Provide timely and specific feedback to students on their assessments - not just a letter or number grade.” Almeida. L, in Reeves. D (Ed) Ahead of the Curve, Solution Tree, Bloomington, IN, 157 60

61 Sample Assessment Plan
Formative Assessment for Unit 1 Summative Assessment for Unit 1 Source: O’Connor, K. A Repair Kit for Grading, Pearson ATI, 2011, 113 61

62 replaces old evidence and grades cannot be
5. Grade in pencil, which means new evidence replaces old evidence and grades cannot be determined only numerically. 62

63 Fix #14 63 O’Connor, K., A Repair Kit for Grading, Pearson ATI, 2011, 123

64 Conditions for “Second Chance” Assessment
Always - evidence of “correctives” Optional - opportunity cost 64

65 6. Don’t accept mean teachers - “crunch” numbers carefully, if
at all, which means no zeros, no percentages, and acknowledging that grading is primarily an exercise in professional judgment. 65

66 “Data should be used to INFORM not determine decisions”
Management Consultant, The Hay Group, personal conversation, January 2002 66

67 First test Second test Third test Fourth test Fifth test Sixth test 67
Source: Richard Brown, an Alberta high school teacher

68 Alberta Written Test for Driver’s Licence
Fix #11 Alberta Written Test for Driver’s Licence 6.0/7.0 (85%) required to pass First attempt 1.00/7.0 (14%) Second attempt /7.0 (85%) Mean 3.5 Third attempt /7.0 (90%) Mean 4.4 Fourth attempt /7.0 (95%) Mean 5.0 Fifth attempt /7.0 (100%) Mean 5.4 Sixth attempt /7.0 (100%) Mean 5.8 Seventh attempt /7.0 (100%) Mean 6.0 68 Source: Richard Brown, Alberta high school teacher

69 The Effect of Zeros 5 pt scale 101 point scale 4 (A) 90-100 11 95 95
3 (B) 2 (C) (D) (F) < 2 (C) (D) (C) Source: O’Connor, K. A Repair Kit for Grading, Pearson ATI, 2011, 98 69

70 “The use of an I or “Incomplete” grade
is an alternative to assigning zeros that is both educationally sound and potentially quite effective.” Guskey, T. R. and Bailey, J. Developing Grading and Reporting Systems for Student Learning, Corwin Press, 2001, 144 70

71 The Hanover Research Council profiled a number of top-ranked and regional institutions regarding their attitudes on standards-based grading. For all types of colleges, high school course selection has become a more important criterion for admission for a number of reasons. According to the report, GPA relevance is debatable due to widely varying grading scales and weighting practices among high schools. 71 Source: Hanover Research Council conducted a study for QCSD

72 Background from the guidance department on the high
Colleges and universities look for some of the following types of information from high schools to help them navigate discrepancies: Background from the guidance department on the high school's students, grading scales, and academic rigor. Evaluation of a high school’s past students and their success at the institution. GPA recalculation based on specific core courses. GPA recalculation to exclude or include weight for honors, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate courses. Required or recommended interview with an admissions officer, in person or via the Internet. Visits to high schools, where officers can meet with guidance counseling staff 72 Source: Hanover Research Council conducted a study for QCSD

73 Conclusion: The Hanover Research Council report states that “Generally, admissions offices treat all grades as welcome indicators of high school performance while implicitly acknowledging that every school has a unique perspective, student body, and system.” None of the college admissions offices contacted expressed a concern or a negative view of a transcript based on standards-based grading. 73 Source: Hanover Research Council conducted a study for QCSD

74 What I would really like to see K-12
* No subject grades and no GPA except 11/12 * No % - limited number of proficiency levels for scoring and grading * No class rank * No more than 3 achievement report cards per year, i.e., high quality SB EF * Parent portals - summarizing function turned off for at least 6 weeks * Collaboration required across grade level, courses leading to ‘one pagers’ * Assessment plans that clearly identify ‘body of evidence’ for which each student is responsible 74

75 challenging prevailing grading practices”
“If you wanted to make just one change that would immediately reduce student failure rates, then the most effective place to start would be challenging prevailing grading practices” Reeves, D. Leading to change: Effective grading practices. Educational Leadership, 65(5), 2008, 85 75

76 “Assigning fair and meaningful grades to students will
continue to challenge educators at every level. The process requires thoughtful and informed professional judgment, an abiding concern for what best serves the interests of students and their families, and careful examination of the tasks students are asked to complete and the questions they are asked to answer to demonstrate their learning. only when such examination and reasoned judgment become a regular part of the grading process can we make accurate and valid decisions about the quality of students' performance.” Guskey, T.R “The Case Against Percentage Grades.” Educational Leadership. September. 72 76


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