Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grading For Learning - The Dream

So, Bronwyn and I facilitated a group of teachers who worked for hours writing learning targets. It was a dedicated group of teachers and super inspirational to see their work and listen to their conversations. They talked about everything from specific assessment questions, to choosing the perfect verb for the learning target. They struggled with the idea of long term targets and supporting targets and exactly how would this look in a grade book? Then the conversation got interesting. So here's the question for all of you:

What is required in a gradebook to support this idea of "grading for learning"?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Six Steps Toward Grading for Learning

1) Adopt a grading for learning mindset
2) Write effective learning targets
3) Create and use a scoring rubric
4) Use a variety of assessments
5) Develop and use a system for re-assessing
6) Record and report mastery of learning targets

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Teachers Starting Out - Questions

How do you establish the right level for the learning target? Are learning targets skills, benchmarks, objectives? How many is enough?

How do you reconcile the computer grade program with recording scores using a common rubric and multiple attempts at mastery?

What should we do about zeroes?

Does grading this way take more time?

How can we all get colleagues and administrators on board?

How can we motivate students to do practice work and re-assess?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Almost a year...

of grading by objective.

One of the big questions that came up at our last gathering was "how can we assess higher level thinking rather than just skills?"

This is closely related to two other questions I have: "what are some individual assessment methods besides tests?" and "how many objectives (at what level of detail) is ideal?"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How To Grade For Learning

I found this great new book called, "How To Grade For Learning, Linking Grades to Standards" by Ken O'Connor. It's specifically focused on middle and high school.

He uses these guidelines for grading:

1) Relate grading procedures to learning goals (standards)
2) Use criterion referenced performance standards as reference points to determine grades (grading rubric)
3) Limit the valued attributes included in grades to individual achievement
4) Sample student performance - do not include all scores in grades
5) Grade in pencil - keep records so they can be updated easily
6) Crunch numbers carefully - if at all
7) Use quality assessments and properly recorded evidence of achievement
8) Discuss and involve students in assessment, including grading, throughout the teaching/learning process

In this book the author says that we should not grade formative assessments, only summative assessments. He goes on to say that teachers should provide feedback on formative assessments, but because they are "formative" - it would be unfair to grade them. He says, "What does count for grades are the performances that students give to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they have acquired as a result of instruction and practice." He says that teachers should have some record keeping mechanism form both summative and formative assessments, but the grade includes only summative assessment scores.

The book is filled with checklists and grade book examples.

Here's another quote that is helpful in focusing our work:

"In order to have grades that have real, not just symbolic, meaning, and enable us to focus on learning, not grades, grading must be seen not just as a numerical, mechanical exercise, but as an exercise in professional judgement."