High School Grading for the 21st Century


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This session will describe the process Princess Margaret Secondary School undertook in order to collectively move toward grading practices that are fair, reasonable, and look to build student confidence. Specifically, this session will detail: (1) Three of the most ineffective grading practices that distract high school teachers and distort student grades, and why they should be stopped immediately, (2) The staff development model that Princess Margaret used in order to develop staff fluency with the new practices being implemented and capacity to ensure effective implementation, and 3) Some of the roadblocks & challenges school's might face (and overcome) when they undertake a similar process. In addition, participants will be introduced to the background research used to support the introduction of these more effective grading practices. School- and classroom-based examples will also be provided.

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  • High School Grading for the 21st Century

    1. 1. High School Grading for the 21 st Century Tom Schimmer District Principal School District 67 (Okanagan-Skaha) Penticton, BC [email_address] www.slideshare.net/tschimmer
    2. 2. Bio <ul><li>19 th year in education. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>District Principal (as of August 1) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11 years (5 schools) as Vice-Principal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Staff development in… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment for Learning/Sound Grading Practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviour Support Systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School Leadership </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Acknowledgements <ul><li>Assessment Training Institute (ETS) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rick Stiggins, Judy Arter, Jan Chappuis, Steve Chappuis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leaders in Assessment & Grading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ken O’Connor, Thomas Gusky, Dylan Wiliam, Paul Black, Anne Davies, Lorna Earl, Ruth Sutton, Michael Scriven, Benjamin Bloom, et al! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Presenters at this conference! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory into practice! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Colleagues I’ve worked with! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s ALWAYS a team effort! </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. My Job… <ul><li>To introduce you to the practical </li></ul><ul><li>application of new High School </li></ul><ul><li>practices around grading and </li></ul><ul><li>reporting that are fair, reasonable, </li></ul><ul><li>and focus on learning rather than </li></ul><ul><li>task completion. </li></ul>
    5. 5. I will do that by… <ul><li>Introducing you to the three most ineffective (and overused) High School grading practices. </li></ul><ul><li>Introducing you to the process used at one school to develop fluency & capacity…including challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing a working model of theory into practice. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Definitions? <ul><li>Mark = Score on Individual Assignment. </li></ul><ul><li>Grade = Cumulative for the Course. </li></ul><ul><li>50% is a pass </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A = 86-100 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B = 73-85 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C+ = 67-72 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C = 60-66 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C- = 50-59 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>F = 0-49 </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Pre-Corrections <ul><li>Cell Phones… Off or to silent ring please. </li></ul><ul><li>Every slide will not appear in your handout. </li></ul><ul><li>Adult routines for adult settings. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sit, stand, stretch, move, leave , etc. </li></ul></ul>**
    8. 8. Disclaimers… <ul><li>Quick overview of our progress & process... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… more questions than answers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Few examples… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… more than we’re able to present </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on BIG IDEAS … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… relevance comes when applied to specific content areas, grade levels, or by specific adults. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You might not agree with us… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… and we’re okay with that! </li></ul></ul>**
    9. 9. **
    10. 10. Important Themes
    11. 11. Theme #1 <ul><li>Everything we do in our classrooms/schools should build confidence and reduce anxiety, stress, and confusion </li></ul>
    12. 12. Theme #2 <ul><li>Fear of Failure only motivates the students already not failing! </li></ul>
    13. 13. **
    14. 14. Theme #3 <ul><li>Effective practices are only as good as the systems designed to support the adults who use them. </li></ul>**
    15. 15. Theme #4 <ul><li>The enemy of GREAT…is good! </li></ul>
    16. 16. The BIGGEST Idea
    17. 17. The BIGGEST Idea! <ul><li>There is no greater task…and nothing is taken more personally …than questioning and/or challenging teachers’ grading and reporting practices. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, disconnect the idea of growth and discrediting past practice… </li></ul>
    18. 18. **
    19. 19. Grading Practices that must GO!
    20. 20. Grading Misrules <ul><li>Giving students a second chance is soft . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Life is full of do-overs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Academic rigor means setting unreasonable expectations. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… is about accountability. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The punishment paradigm produces the epiphany. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… more likely to quit! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Students who are unsuccessful didn’t try. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Can’t” do vs. “Won’t” do </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Stop! <ul><li>Grading Homework </li></ul><ul><li>Reducing scores for late work. </li></ul><ul><li>Using “0” for work not handed in. </li></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>Anytime a student makes a first attempt at practicing new learning it should not be included in the grade book until the teacher provides descriptive feedback on the student’s work. </li></ul>NO Grades for Practice Our position
    23. 23. Why No Grades for HW? <ul><li>Whose work is it? </li></ul><ul><li>Flawless instruction? </li></ul><ul><li>Clear on directions? </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback (immediate) matters. </li></ul><ul><li>With teacher, not without! </li></ul><ul><li>Mark the games, not the practice. </li></ul><ul><li>48 vs. 79! </li></ul>
    24. 24. Questions <ul><li>When are students supposed to take the academic risks we encourage them to take if everything they do counts? </li></ul><ul><li>If the prospect of the grade is the only potential motivator, then is it possible the assignment isn’t important …and maybe the students shouldn’t be asked to do it! </li></ul>
    25. 25. NO Late Penalties Our position <ul><li>Students should be graded on the quality of their work (their ability to meet the desired learning targets) rather than how punctual the assignment is. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Why No Late Penalties? <ul><li>Some students predictably struggle with deadlines. </li></ul><ul><li>Deadlines keep students organized. </li></ul><ul><li>Right/Late vs. Wrong/On-Time </li></ul><ul><li>There will be no flood of assignments. </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t add for early. </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviour vs. Learning </li></ul>
    27. 27. What’s in a Grade? (Ministry of Education in British Columbia) <ul><li>“… letter grades will be used to indicate students' levels of performance in relation to the learning outcomes for each course or subject and grade.” </li></ul>
    28. 28. 2 Challenges (Ken O’Conner – “How to Grade for Learning”) <ul><li>“ The penalty …(10% per day)… distorts their achievement and, therefore, contributes to a mark (eventually a grade) that does not have clear meaning.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The punitive nature of the penalty is a powerful disincentive for students to complete any work…” </li></ul>
    29. 29. Possible Solutions? <ul><li>Eliminate the penalty. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on learning…not task completion. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide a window for handing in work. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Give the opportunity to manage time. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide support ahead of time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We know the assignment is going to be late…Be proactive! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Spend more time in preparation . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Directions, set-up, explanations, exemplars, etc. </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. NO Zeros! Our position <ul><li>Assigning a “0” for work not yet handed in is arbitrary and mathematically invalid. Zeros reflect what a student hasn’t done, not what a student knows. </li></ul>
    31. 31. Why No Zeros? <ul><li>Random…why not 4, or 11, or 23? </li></ul><ul><li>Students view it as unfair…mean! </li></ul><ul><li>We have other options. </li></ul><ul><li>Assignments are rendered unnecessary. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If, with “0”, the student is passing the work will never be completed. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does not produce the desired results. </li></ul><ul><li>No empirical support. </li></ul>
    32. 32. Ex. “Jason’s Grades” 75 61 56 63 58 60 Now add a “O” to the Grade Book 0 X – Without the “75”, the grade is 59% (3% impact) 9 % Impact! ** 62 % 53 % 1 more “0”? 46%
    33. 33. Can I shoot a Basketball? 49 100 ** Fri. Thurs. Wed. Tues. Mon. 10 10 10 8 5 0 4 2 0 0
    34. 34. Zero…the ultimate weapon! (Thomas Gusky, “0 Alternatives”, Principal Leadership , October 2004; 5, 2) <ul><li>“ Some teachers recognize that assigning zeros punishes students academically for behavioural infractions; nevertheless, most believe that such punishment is justified and deserved .” </li></ul>
    35. 35. Zero…the ultimate weapon! (Thomas Gusky, “0 Alternatives”, Principal Leadership , October 2004; 5, 2) <ul><li>“ The threat of a zero – and the resulting low grade – allows teachers to impose their will on students who might otherwise be indifferent to a teacher’s demand.” </li></ul>
    36. 36. Traditionally… this is what we’re doing now!”
    37. 37. Our process… <ul><li>Year “0” …spend the right amount of time introducing the new ideas to your staff. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive results, research, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vision, support, coaching, encouragement, risks, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be clear about what you want and what it would look like. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduce individual practices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide replacement routines . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What should I do instead?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Find someone to implement new practices … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… and then let them tell their stories. </li></ul></ul>
    38. 38. Willing & Able? (Individually and/or Collectively) <ul><li>Willing , but not able? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Move ahead with plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure people are comfortable with the research, rationale, and replacement routines. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Able , but unwilling? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think BIG, but start small. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan for rapid results by encouraging minor changes that make a big difference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support, support, support! </li></ul></ul>