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Grading Practices Update Ruth Steidinger, High School Programs.

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1 Grading Practices Update Ruth Steidinger, High School Programs

2 2 Grading Practices  The primary purposes of grades are to: Communicate student achievement to students and parents, Inform post-secondary institutions and potential employers, Aid in educational and career planning, and Guide administrative decisions such as grade and class placement, graduation, promotion, and honors.

3 3 Grading Practices  If we agree that the purpose of grades is communication about student achievement, we must ask ourselves: How confident are we that the grades students get in our middle and high schools are:  consistent,  accurate,  meaningful, and  supportive of learning?

4 4 Grading Practices  We know that developing meaningful and equitable grading practices is a daily challenge for K-12 educators and administrators.  This is “… one component of education that has remained essentially unchanged since 1933…”  In many cases, teachers grade as they were graded as students.  Over the years, grading has been an unexamined and private practice.

5 5 According to the research, the most common grading challenges are:  Distorted achievement,  Low-quality or poorly organized evidence,  Inappropriate grade calculation, and  Linking grades more closely to student learning.

6 6 Review of Elementary Journey  Ten years ago, central leadership staff led elementary school based staff, parents, and community members in a conversation about grading practices  The result was a move to standards based grading in elementary schools and a report card that separated evaluation of learning from behaviors

7 7 Current Status of High School and Middle Schools  At the conclusion of the school year, principals unanimously agreed to engage in a year long conversation regarding grading practices  After extensive research, we chose the work of Ken O’Connor to provide a springboard for our conversations.  We have also used the work of Thomas Guskey, Cassie Erkens, Douglas Reeves, Patricia Scriffiny, and various university professors from across the country.

8 8 Year of Conversation – High School  High school principals agreed that APIs would lead the conversation at their schools  API monthly meetings involved: Use of protocols to solicit feedback from school-based discussions Introduction to new activities for engaging school- based staff in conversations  High Five provided staff development on grading practices this year. Each high school sent teacher leaders to this training to give them tools to assist APIs in the discussions back at their school.  High School Central Service staff supported teacher conversations via Department Chair meetings and PLC Team Leader meetings.

9 9 Year of Conversation – Middle School  Improved grading practices has been a priority for middle school principals for several years.  Data teams served as the forum in : Monthly meetings with school teams. Activity-based presentations and discussions.  Parallel work with department chairs and IRTs.  Engagement with elementary and middle school counselors.  Engagement with middle school media coordinator learning teams.

10 10 Questions we have pondered this year?  Should we include student behaviors (effort, participation, adherence to class rules, etc.) in grades?  Should we report student behaviors separately?  Should we reduce grades when work is submitted late?

11 11 Questions we have pondered this year?  Should we give points for extra credit?  Should we punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades?  What alternative consequences are there for this behavior?

12 12 Questions we have pondered this year?  Should we include group scores in grades?  Should we include zeros in grade determination when work is missing?  How do we provide additional opportunities for the student to do the missing work while not diminishing the importance of his/her responsibility?

13 13 Questions we have pondered this year?  Should we summarize a student’s work over time or only the most recent achievement?  Should we use information from formative assessments and practice to determine grades or only from summative assessments?

14 Grading Systems Example Clue High School

15 15 Clue High School The math department PLC has decided to use the following weights for grades: Tests50% Quizzes 25% Classwork15% Homework*10% *Homework is graded for completion only.

16 16 The Teachers Mrs. White allows students to take a retest on any test they fail. Mr. Butler drops the lowest quiz and homework grades. Ms. Scarlett gives a 100 point quiz grade to students who return their Interim Report signed (and a zero if it’s not!) Mrs. Peacock gives students classwork grades for turning in their Unit Notebooks (based on completeness). Each teacher in the math department has some special considerations when it comes to grades (except for Colonel Mustard, he is straight by the book!):

17 17 The Mystery Four students, Mary, Alexis, John and Bobby, are signed up for Algebra I this semester. Whose class does each student want to be in?

18 18 Colonel Mustard’s Grading System

19 19 Mrs. White’s Grading System Mrs. White allows students to take a retest on any test they fail. Mary took a retest on Test 1 and made a 75.

20 20 Mr. Butler’s Grading System Mr. Butler drops the lowest quiz and homework grades.

21 21 Ms. Scarlett’s Grading System Ms. Scarlett gives a 100 point quiz grade to students who return their Interim Report signed (and a zero if it’s not!) Mary and Alexis returned their interim’s signed.

22 22 Mrs. Peacock’s Grading System Mrs. Peacock gives students classwork grades for turning in their Unit Notebooks (based on completeness).

23 23 Grading Practices How confident are we that the grades of Mary, Alexis, John, and Bobby are: consistent, accurate, meaningful, and supportive of learning?

24 24 Plans for  To engage constituents in the work.  To seek assistance from national experts.  To move from conversation to action: are there current grading practices that need to be changed?  To explore/experiment with alternative grading practices.


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