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Thinking about Formative Assessment and Grading… High Schools that Work May 5, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Thinking about Formative Assessment and Grading… High Schools that Work May 5, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Thinking about Formative Assessment and Grading… High Schools that Work May 5, 2010

2 The Context  How teachers “grade” student work and determine student grades is part of the larger question of “assessment” practices.  Increasingly, educators are being asked to think of assessment in two different, although related, contexts …

3 Two Dimensions of Assessment Assessment OF Learning: How much have students learned as of a particular point in time? Assessment FOR Learning: How can we use assessment information to help students learn more?

4 Historically, educators have not paid a great deal of attention to the latter … Assessment FOR Learning …

5 In a word, assessment FOR learning asks, “How might we use assessment of student work to motivate students to work harder and more effectively, as well as improve … raise the level of their achievement?”

6 Grading and Reporting are NOT Essential to the Instructional Process Teachers can teach without grades. Students can and do learn without grades Checking is Essential – Because it is diagnostic!

7 Consider Grading in that Context … A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s and F’s … What do they really mean? Are they really objective? Fair and accurate? Do our current practices encourage students to do their best, or discourage students from doing their best?

8 Typical Misunderstandings A’s, B’s … F’s … % …  Letter grades carry a universally-accepted meaning or stand for an amount/quality of learning, and are more meaningful than reporting attainment of standards.  Norm-referenced tests measure what kids know and can do.  Percentile ranks are important, providing precision in scores, the nutrition label from the cereal box.  We don’t test the basics; we’re more interested in creating thinking and cooperative learning.

9 From the Akron Beacon Journal (April 4, 2005) “GRADING SCALES VARY THROUGHOUT REGION, AKRON BOARD WEIGHS PROS, CONS OF TIGHTER SCALE, PLANS TO STUDY UP Making the grade is more difficult in some local school districts than others. A high school student who scores 90 percent in Wadsworth now earns an A. But getting that top grade in Canton takes at least 93 percent. The Akron school board will examine the grading systems used by area districts in the next month as it weighs whether to adopt a tougher scale. A sampling done by the Akron Beacon Journal found that grading differs widely among both local and "Big 8" urban...” It is all well and good to concern ourselves with “grading scales”, but the more significant question is …

10 What is the Purpose for Grades? The purpose should be to communicate. Communicate what? Student achievement … More specifically – student achievement at a point in time …

11 But in reality (rightly or wrongly), grades serve multiple functions: CommunicationMotivationControl/punitiveAdministrativeInstructional

12 Multiple Functions Results in a Lack of Shared Meaning: AchievementAttitudeEffortBehaviorParticipationAttendance

13 Creating a Success Bias Through Grading Practices 52% of teachers report that they took “student ability” into account when assigning grades. 42% report that they factor “effort” in the final grade.

14 An Example - “Effort” … How to Measure? If included, it typically isn’t known to students. They think the grade is bona fide. When counting effort, we consider students with varying abilities differently … usually giving someone a break. Effort is very difficult to measure. No specific criteria = subjective judgments … The “interested pretender” or the “out-to-lunch concentrator?” Intellectual effort is not the same as good or bad behavior.

15 (Recommended) Types of Learning to Be Used in Grading and Reporting Sum Total of Everything Students Do in School/Classroom Selection of Most Valued Items for Reporting Purposes Progress Criteria * Learning Gains Selection of Achievement Items for Grading Purposes * Improvement over time Product Criteria Process Criteria * Exams * Work Habits* Reports/Projects * Attendance * Culminating Demonstrations of learning * Effort * Participation * Homework ReportGrade

16 The Dilemma of Late Work Imagine that your 10 th grader’s mid- term report indicates a “C”, yet everything you’ve seen has an “A” or “B” on it. She’s done all the work and can’t explain the “C.” You meet with the teacher and the computer printout shows four entries: 95, 85, 85 and 40%. The last assignment was one week late and the teacher deducts 10% per day. Your Reaction? …

17 Alternatives to Assigning Zeros: Assign “I” or “Incomplete” Grades. (Include specific and immediate consequences.) Report Behavioral Aspects Separately. (Separate “product” (Achievement) from “process” and “progress.”)…”Social Probation” – North Union Local Schools Use the Most Appropriate Grading Scale…

18 Grading Formulae and Scales: What Grade do Students Deserve? From Tom Guskey…(See Related handout)

19 Discuss (and Jot down a Response) for the Following: What does a “C” communicate to others? What problems does the practice of reducing the grade for late work solve? What problems does it create? What are the teacher’s options for dealing with late work?

20 Homework: Discuss with a Partner … What is (are) the purpose (s) for homework? What % of your (individually) students’ summative (grading period) grades are determined by homework? If a student gives you solid evidence (by quizzes, tests, etc.) that he knows the material, but does not complete his homework consistently, would you lower his grade? Why, or why not?

21 Ken O’Connor has suggested specific guidelines for grading. Let’s look at them (Refer to your handout) …

22 Guideline #1: Relate grading procedures to learning goals (i.e., standards). Guideline #2: Use criterion-referenced performance standards as reference points to determine grades. Guideline #3: Limit the valued attributes included in grades to individual achievement.

23 Guideline #4: Sample student performance – Do not include all scores in grades. Guideline #5: Grade in pencil – Keep records so they can be updated easily. Guideline #6: Crunch numbers carefully, if at all.

24 Guideline #7: Use quality assessment(s) and properly recorded evidence of achievement. Guideline #8: Discuss and involve students in assessment, including grading, throughout the teaching learning process.

25 Applying the Guidelines …

26 Scenario #1 Mr. Marlow’s 9 th grade English class has students of varying abilities. During this grading period, the students’ grades are based on quizzes, tests, and homework assignments that involve practice exercises. Kelly has not turned in any homework assignments despite frequent reminders. His grades on the quizzes have ranged from 65% to 75%, and he received a “D” on each of the tests. What should Mr. Marlow do in determining Kelly’s grade? The options …

27 Mr. Marlow’s Options 1.Assign Kelly a “0” for the homework assignments and include this in his grade, thus giving him an average of “F” for the grading period? 2.Ignore the missing homework assignments and assign Kelly a “D”? 3.Ignore the missing homework assignments and assign Kelly a “C”? 4.Something else?

28 Per the Guidelines …  Not option 1 because of Guideline #2 - Distortion  The “answer”? … Choose options 2 or 3 because of Guideline #5 – Do not include all scores on practice work. Base the grade on summative assessments. To assign a “C” or “D” would depend on the grading scale. The only caveat is if homework would provide additional information about student achievement; then, consideration could be given to assigning an incomplete.

29 Scenario #2 Mrs. Exponent is teaching high school algebra. In her class, she gives two tests each grading period. David received an “F” on the first test and a low “B” on the second. How should Mrs. Exponent determine David’s grades? The options …

30 Mrs. Exponent’s Options 1.Assign David an overall grade of “D” based on the average of his performance on the two exams? 2.Assign David an overall grade of “C” because he showed improvement on his performance? 3.Assign David an overall grade of “B” because that was the level of his performance at the end of the term? 4.Something else?

31 Per the Guidelines …  The answer depends on whether the second test covered material also covered on the first test. If the student really did use the material on the first test to learn the material, then Guideline #6 holds – Use the most current information. Therefore, option 3 (grade of “B”) is best.  If the tests covered different material, then select either option 1 or 2, depending on the relative weight of the two tests.

32 Scenario #3 Mr. Paderewski is the teacher in a 9 th grade heterogeneously grouped class. Chris, one of his students, has strong academic abilities as shown by her previous work, test results, reports of other teachers, and his own observation. As he looks over her work for the grading period, he realizes the quality of her work is above average for the class, but it doesn’t represent the best she can do. The effort shown has been minimal, but, because of her ability, the work is reasonably good. What should the teacher do?

33 Mr. Paderewski’s Options 1.Grade Chris on the quality of her work in comparison to the class, without being concerned about the quality of work she should have done? 2.Lower Chris’s grade because she did not make a serious effort in this class: she could have done better. 3.Give Chris a lower grade to make her work harder? 4.Something else?

34 Per the Guidelines …  Not option 1 because of Guideline #3 – Don’t grade on the curve (norm referenced). Use criterion referenced grades.  Not option 2 or 3 because of Guideline #5 – Include only achievement in the grade.  Choose option 4 – Grade on a pre-set criterion referenced standard.

35 Critiquing the Guidelines … Your comments …

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