Grading PracticesDouglas Reeves, Ph.D. Mt. Pleasant High School 2010-2011
Grading Grades = Feedback to Improve Performance! If you have high levels of success and lowfailure rates, your policy is sound and should be left alone. If you have low levels of success and highfailure rates, what you are doing is not working. The “Real World” is not “You have one chance at it and you’redone”. We seldom use “average” for anything else except grades. Grades must never be used as punishment. It doesn’t work! Rewards for work done daily are far greater than punishment for work done late. The Driver’s License Test example – chance to “re-do/re-take”
Toxic (Ineffective) Grading Policies The use of “zeroes” for missing work. Consequence should be to complete the work! The practice of using the “average” of all scores during the grading period, a formula that presumes that the learning early in the semester is as important as learning at the end of the semester. (Marzano 2000; O’Connor, 2007) The use of the “grading period killer” – the single project, test, lab, paper, or other assignment that will make or break students.
Toxic Grading Practices and Alternatives Toxic “Zeroes” for missing work Average/Mean Grading Period Killer: One Test or Project Alternative “Get ‘Er Done, Just Do It”, complete/submit missing work Best representation of work (Re-do, Re-submit) Resilience, Personal Responsibility (Don’t let them off the hook!)
The Power of Zeroes Rick Wormeli, Middle Ground Convert “zeroes” to “50s” Conversion necessary so that any “calculating” is mathematically justified. Not using “zeroes” is a more accurate picture of the students’ ability. “Zero” has an undeserved and devastating effect on students and their grades – so much that no matter what student does, the “zero” distorts the final grade as a true indicator of mastery. Mathematically and ethically – unacceptable!
Negative Impact of “Zero” on a 100-Point Grading Scale 0, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 = 83% = B 50, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 = 92% = A Should weuse an “F” grade near the top of the “F” range, such as 50 in this case, or should we use the bottom, most hurtful and distorting of “F” grades – a “zero” - as the indicator of failure? What purpose does it serve to use a “zero” to indicate a student failed to demonstrate mastery? Should a string of perfect papers for a grading period combined with one paper not submitted equate to a lower grade? (NCLB-AYP) What would happen if we did not count the lowest grade? “Consider trying to find the average temperature over 5 days and recording 85, 82, 83, 86, then forgetting a day and recording “zero”. The average temperature would be 67, a figure that does not accurately show the weather from that week.
Accurate Grading Policies Rick Stiggins Determine grades using the median (middle grade) – not the mean/average. Look for the most consistent level ofperformance, not all performances. We should not hold a student’s earlier digressions in the grading period or year against them.
Effective Grading Practices-Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D. To reduce failure rate, schools don’t need a new curriculum, a new administration, new teachers, or new technology. They just need a better grading system. Grading seems to be regarded as the last frontier of individual teacher/school discretion. The same school leaders and community members who would be indignant if referees, judges, etc. were inconsistent in their rulings continue to tolerate inconsistencies that have devastating effects on student achievement.
Did You Know……….. Two common causes of course failures – 1)missing homework; 2)poor performance on a single major assignment. Adjusting your policy would have a huge impact on student failures. (Reeves) Assessments are used to provide the ladder for the student to crawl from his/her hole. Whether it is due to immaturity, behavior or cognitive readiness level, great teachers still provide the ladder. (Wormeli) Distorted and inaccurate grades are little more than harsh punishment. Students want to throw down the ball and go home. They see no reason to play. Grades that reduce the negative effects of an imperfect grading system keep students in the game. (Marzano)
The Grade Book Concepts NOT assignments! “Page 87” tells us nothing! If concepts are listed in the grade book: Teachers can easily tell parents, students, and administrators what concepts are mastered. IEP goals and objectives are easily written. Incomplete grades can be given to individual concepts- helping to identify areas that need more instruction.
What should NOT be included in a grade? Effort Participation Attitude Behavior Homework Group work
Re-Teaching and Re-Testing In Class re-teaching/retesting After School re-teaching & Extra Help Lunch/Recess re-teaching & Extra Help Student Accountability Builds Positive Relationships with Parents/Students
Resources O’Connor, “A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades” “How to Grade for Learning” Marzano, “Assessment and Grading that Works” Guskey, “Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading”