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B. moore 12 fixes for broken grades


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Southern Regional Educational Board Grading Presentation (B Moore)

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B. moore 12 fixes for broken grades

  1. 1. High Schools That Work Making Middle Grades Work Effective Grading Practices 12 Fixes for Broken Grades Barbara Moore Southern Regional Education Board
  2. 2. “Unlike the external standardized tests that feature so prominently on the school landscape these days, well-designed classroom assessment and grading practices can provide the kind of specific, personalized and timely information needed to guide both learning and teaching.” Seven Practices for Effective Learning, McTigue and O’Connor, ASCD, 2005 Effective Grading Practices 2
  3. 3. Essential Question Do our grades for students reflect the degree to which they have met the standards for a course? Effective Grading Practices 3
  4. 4. To What Degree Do The Teachers At Your School . . . 1. Base grading on the degree to which students are proficient in the standards? 2. Collaborate on consistent methods to arrive at grades? 3. Refrain from using grades as punishment? 4. Involve students in assessing their own progress? Effective Grading Practices 4
  5. 5. Current Grading Practices “ . . . (grading) practices are not the result of careful thought or sound evidence, . . . rather, they are used because teachers experienced these practices as students and, having little training or experience with other options, continue their use.” Guskey, T. (Editor), Communicating Student Learning: 1996 ASCD Yearbook Effective Grading Practices 5
  6. 6. Grading Practices “Why . . . Would anyone want to change current grading practices? The answer is quite simple: grades are so imprecise that they are almost meaningless.” Marzano, R. J., Transforming Classroom Grading, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 2000, 1 Effective Grading Practices 6
  7. 7. The Issue “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 and Borich, Authentic Assessment in the Classroom, Prentice Hall, 1999, Effective Grading Practices 7
  8. 8. Primary Purpose “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 Effective Grading Practices 8
  9. 9. Secondary Purposes for Grading 1. Provide information that students can use for self-evaluation. 2. Select, identify, or group students for certain educational paths or programs. 3. Provide incentives to learn. 4. Evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs Effective Grading Practices 9
  10. 10. The Need to Challenge Current Grading Systems Weaknesses in current grading systems include:  Students can earn an A in a course and never complete anything but basic level work  Teachers lack effective ways to get students to complete work at high levels; teachers grade and record whatever work is turned in.  Current grading systems provide students with the option of not doing their assignments at all; the only consequence to not doing work is that they don‟t have to do the work.  Most grading policies purposefully (or not) assess behaviors instead of level of achievement or proficiency on standards Standards-based Grading 10
  11. 11. Grading Systems Current grading systems: Letters or numbers that represent Current Grading System Standards-based Grading System A level or 90-100 level B level or 80-89 level C level or 70-79 level D level or 60-69 level F level or 59 or below A level or advanced level of the standard B level or proficient level of the standard C level or basic level of the standard I: Incomplete or Not Yet level of the standard Effective Grading Practices 11
  12. 12. Grading Practices Continuum Traditional Assessment Methods Achievement/non- achievement factors mixed Everything „counts‟ All data cumulative One opportunity only Calculating averages only Teachers‟ subjective standards Poor quality assessment Teacher-centered with unclear targets Standards-based Standards Achievement separate from work habits/attitude Summative only More recent emphasized More than one opportunity Professional judgment Published performance standards High quality assessment Student understanding & involvement Effective Grading Practices 12
  13. 13. Grading Givens Grading is not essential for learning Grading is complicated Grading is subjective and often emotional Grading is inescapable There is not much “pure” research on grading practices No single best grading practice Faulty grading damages students - and teachers Effective Grading Practices 13
  14. 14. Grades are broken when they. . • include ingredients that distort achievement • arise from low quality or poorly organized evidence • are derived from inappropriate number crunching, and when they • do not support the learning process. Effective Grading Practices 14
  15. 15. What can educators do? Link content standards with teaching standards at the proficient level and getting students to that level. Decide on evidence to be collected. “Does each assessment measure what was taught?” Distinguish between formative and summative. Develop an overall grading rubric that defines level of quality in relation to each grade. Create a grade book that records evidence in relation to the standards. Standards-based Grading 16
  16. 16. “When schools improve grading practices --- for example, by disconnecting grades from behavior --- student achievement increases and behavior improves dramatically.” Doug Reeves, 2008 Effective Grading Practices 17
  17. 17. Standards-based Grades In a standards-referenced system, a grade or a score represents the level of understanding the student has of the knowledge, skills and concepts in a subject area and the student‟s ability to apply that understanding in a variety of tasks. Effective Grading Practices 18
  18. 18. Standards-based grades should reflect the level of students‟ performance on course standards Effective Grading Practices 19
  19. 19. Grading Practices that Inhibit Learning Inconsistent grading scales Worshipping averages Using zeroes indiscriminately Following the pattern of assign/test/grade & teach Failing to match testing to teaching Ambushing students Suggesting that success is unlikely Grading first efforts Practicing “gotcha” teaching Penalizing students for taking risks Failing to recognize measurement error Establishing inconsistent grading criteria Effective Grading Practices 23
  20. 20. Grading Guideline #1 Include only achievement data in determining grades (Don‟t include student behaviors such as effort, participation, adherence to class rules, etc.). The tendency to collapse several independent elements into a single grade blurs its meaning. Effective Grading Practices 24
  21. 21. What Should “Count?” Assessments That Relate to Standards Tests Projects Performances  Essays  Research papers  Presentations  Lab experiments Assessment of Other Learning Factors Homework completion and practice Attendance Tardiness Student behavior Effort Timeliness Following class rules Extra credit (for completion only) Effective Grading Practices 25
  22. 22. Grading Guideline #2 Don‟t reduce marks on “work” submitted late; provide support for the learner. Effective Grading Practices 26
  23. 23. Avoid assigning zeroes “Assigning a score of zero to work that is late, missed, or neglected does not accurately depict students‟ learning. Is the teacher certain the student has learned absolutely nothing, or is the zero assigned to punish students for not displaying appropriate responsibility?” --Guskey, 1996 Effective Grading Practices 27
  24. 24. Avoid assigning zeroes Don‟t include zeros in grade determination when evidence is missing or as punishment; use alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement or use “I” for Incomplete or Insufficient Evidence. Effective Grading Practices 28
  25. 25. “The use of an I or “Incomplete” grade is an alternative to assigning zeros that is both educationally sound and potentially quite effective.” Guskey and Bailey, Developing Grading and Reporting Systems for Student Learning, Corwin Press, 2001 Effective Grading Practices 29
  26. 26. Grading Guideline #3 Don‟t give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement. Effective Grading Practices 32
  27. 27. Grading Guideline #4 Don‟t punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement. Effective Grading Practices 33
  28. 28. Grading Guideline #5 Don‟t consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately. Effective Grading Practices 34
  29. 29. Grading Guideline #6 Don‟t assign grades using inappropriate or unclear performance standards; provide clear descriptions of achievement expectations. Effective Grading Practices 35
  30. 30. Communicate Clear Standards “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, McREL, 1997 Effective Grading Practices 36
  31. 31. Grades Must Reflect • Development of assignments and assessments that include questions and activities that actually get students to the proficient and advanced levels of the standards. •Alignment of grades to the attainment of the proficiency level of the content standard/benchmark A= advanced, B= proficient, C= basic • Elimination of zeros for work not completed • Eliminating the option of students not completing their assignments; Effective Grading Practices 37
  32. 32. Grading Guideline #7 Don‟t include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence. Effective Grading Practices 38
  33. 33. “Group grades are so blatantly unfair that on this basis alone they should never be used.” Kagan, S. “Group Grades Miss the Mark,” Educational Leadership, May, 1995 Effective Grading Practices 39
  34. 34. Guideline #3b Kagan‟s 7 reasons for opposing group grades 1. no(t) fair 2. debase report cards 3. undermine motivation 4. convey the wrong message 5. violate individual accountability 6. are responsible for resistance to cooperative learning 7. may be challenged in court. Kagan, S. “Group Grades Miss the Mark,” Educational Leadership, May, 1995, 68-71 Effective Grading Practices 40
  35. 35. Grading Guideline #8 Don‟t assign grades based on student‟s achievement compared to other students; compare each student‟s performance to preset standards. Effective Grading Practices 41
  36. 36. “No student‟s grade should depend on the achievement (or behavior) of other students.” William Glasser Effective Grading Practices 42
  37. 37. Eliminate the Curve Students are at different places and Learn at different paces, YET  Systems assess at the same time  Bell curve based upon when learned, not Learned or Quality of Learning  The old bell curve has morphed into a “Compliance Curve” in most classrooms  A Learning Curve is necessary for NCLB Effective Grading Practices 43
  38. 38. Grading Guideline #9 Don‟t rely only on the mean; consider other measures of central tendency and use professional judgment. Effective Grading Practices 44
  39. 39. “Crunch” numbers carefully - if at all Determine vs. calculate Consider methods:  Mean - average  Median - middle score  Mode - most frequently occurring score Priority goes to evidence that is most recent, most comprehensive, and most important learning Effective Grading Practices 45
  40. 40. Considerations We need a sufficient body of evidence to determine what a student knows and can do. Alternatives  60% rather than 0%  Incomplete (especially for critical assessments)  Calculate using median or mode  Drop lowest scores  Report and communicate behavioral aspects separately Effective Grading Practices 46
  41. 41. Mean vs. Median "Grading by the median provides more opportunities for success by diminishing the impact of a few stumbles and by rewarding hard work." Wright, Russell. G., "Success for All: The Median is the Key", Kappan, May 1994, 723-725 Effective Grading Practices 47
  42. 42. The Effect of 0 Student A 86 86 86 0 86 Mean = 68.8% Does this accurately reflect what the student knows and can do? Median = 86% Mode = 86% Mean (with 60% instead of 0) = 80.8% Effective Grading Practices 48
  43. 43. Disproportionate Impact of ZEROs F Think in terms of pounds: A = 11 pounds (90-100) B = 10 pounds (80-89) C = 10 pounds (70-79) DC BA D = 10 pounds (60-69) F = 59 pounds (0-59) Effective Grading Practices 49
  44. 44. Mean vs. Median Student Y Student Y 96 99 94 61 97 Student Z 92 74 68 64 58  Mean = 89.4%  Median = 96%  Is this a “B” student? Student Z  Mean = 71.2%  Median = 68%  Does this student have mastery? Effective Grading Practices 51
  45. 45. “Averaging falls far short of providing an accurate description of what students have learned If the purpose of grading and reporting is to provide an accurate description of what students have learned, then averaging must be considered inadequate and inappropriate”. Guskey, Thomas R. (Editor), Communicating Student Learning: The 1996 ASCD Yearbook, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 1996, 21 Effective Grading Practices 52
  46. 46. Grading Guideline #10 Don‟t rely on evidence from assessments that fail to meet standards of quality; rely only on quality assessments. Effective Grading Practices 53
  47. 47. Grades should come from a body of evidence plus performance standards plus guidelines, i.e., professional judgment. Seven Practices for Effective Learning, McTigue and O’Connor, ASCD, 2005 Effective Grading Practices 54
  48. 48. Types of Assessment Diagnostic - assessment which takes place prior to instruction; designed to determine a student's attitude, skills or knowledge in order to identify student needs. Formative - Assessment designed to provide direction for improvement and/or adjustment during instruction for individual students or for a whole class, e.g. observation, quizzes, homework, instructional questions, initial drafts/attempts. Summative - Assessment/evaluation designed to provide information to be used in making judgment about a student’s achievement at the end of a sequence of instruction, e.g. final drafts/attempts, tests, exams, assignments, projects, performances. Effective Grading Practices 55
  49. 49. 56
  50. 50. Guidelines for Assessment Practices 1. Use summative assessments to frame meaningful performance goals - in terms of desirable outcomes 2. Show criteria and models in advance to help students understand criteria 3. Assess before teaching 4. Offer appropriate choices 5. Provide feedback early and often - F³ (timely, specific and understandable) 6. Encourage self-assessment and goal-setting 7. Allow new evidence to replace old evidence Effective Grading Practices 57
  51. 51. Grading Guideline #11 Don‟t summarize evidence accumulated over time when learning is developmental and will grow with time and repeated opportunities―emphasize more recent achievement. Classroom assessments and grading should focus on how well―not when― student s master the content. Effective Grading Practices 58
  52. 52. The key question is, “What information provides the most accurate depiction of students‟ learning at this time?” In nearly all cases, the answer is “the most current information.” If students demonstrate that past assessment information no longer accurately reflects their learning, that information must be dropped and replaced by the new information. Continuing to rely on past assessment data miss- communicates students‟ learning. Guskey, Thomas R. (Editor), Communicating Student Learning: 1996 ASCD Yearbook, ASCD, Effective Grading Practices 59
  53. 53. Standards-based Guidelines Students should be assessed or checked on everything (or almost everything) they do BUT everything that is assessed and/or checked does not need a score AND every score should not be included in the grade. Seven Practices for Effective Learning, McTigue and O’Connor, ASCD, 2005 Effective Grading Practices 60
  54. 54. Grading Guideline #12 Involve Students Students often have little understanding of how their grade is determined. Students experience grades as something that is “done to them” rather than a reflection of their learning. Effective Grading Practices 61
  55. 55. Involve Students Show students how to assess their own and others' work against the performance standards, expectations or levels. Help students learn „Habits of Success,‟ how to set goals and both reflect on and monitor their own work Effective Grading Practices 62
  56. 56. Critical Questions to Ask Yourself • What do ALL of my students need to KNOW? • What should ALL of my students be able to DO to demonstrate they know? • What standards do I want to measure? • Which outcomes are not being assessed adequately? Effective Grading Practices 63
  57. 57. Guidelines for Grading 1. Relate grading procedures to the intended learning goals, i.e., standards, expectations, outcomes, etc. 2. Use criterion-referenced standards as reference points to distribute grades. 3. Limit the valued attributes included in grades to individual achievement. 4. Sample student performance - don't include all scores in grades. Effective Grading Practices 64
  58. 58. Guidelines for Grading 5. “Grade in pencil” - keep records so they can be updated easily. 6. “Crunch" numbers carefully - if at all. 7. Use quality assessment(s) and properly recorded evidence of achievement. 8. Discuss and involve students in assessment, including grading throughout the teaching/learning process. Effective Grading Practices 65
  59. 59. Recommended Resources Marzano, R., (2000) Transforming Classroom Grading Marzano, R., (2006) Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work Reeves, D. (2004). 101 more questions & answers about standards, assessment and accountability Guskey, T., Developing Grading and Reporting Systems for Student Learning Ainsworth, L., (2007) Ahead of the Curve: The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning Reeves, D. (2003). Making Standards Work Reeves, D. (2002). The Leaders‟ Guide to Standards Stiggins, R., (2001) Student-Involved Classroom Assessment Brookhart, S., (2004) Grading O‟Connor, K. (2009) How to Grade For Learning, K-12 Wormeli, R., Fair Isn‟t Always Equal Effective Grading Practices 66
  60. 60. Curriculum: Yesterday and Today Traditional What is taught Chapters covered & worksheets completed Academic context Textbook as main source Individual subjects Basics emphasized for all; thinking skills emphasized for gifted Standards-based What is learned Identification of what students should know & do Life context Multiple resources Integrated subjects Basics and thinking skills emphasized for all Effective Grading Practices 67
  61. 61. Instruction: Yesterday and Today Traditional Teacher centered Organized around time Single teaching strategy Teach once Fixed groups Whole-group instruction Passive learning Standards-based Student centered Organized for results Multiple teaching strategies Reteaching and enrichment Flexible groups Differentiated instruction Active learning Effective Grading Practices 68
  62. 62. Assessment: Yesterday and Today Traditional Bell curve One opportunity After instruction Paper-and-pencil-based Grades averaged Proving and accountability Focus on product Standards-based Rubrics Multiple opportunities Integrated with instruction Performance-based Grades on final performance Diagnose and prescribe Focus on product and process Effective Grading Practices 69