Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It's the new year and I'd like to go back to school with a shiny new homework policy & system. Let's hear it from all of you. How do you do homework?
1) how often?
2) how many problems?
3) how do you grade it?
4) how is it connected to their overall grade?
5) how do you correct it?
6) do kids do it?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Getting Feedback From Students

I was just reminded by my PDP coordinator that I need to do student surveys soon. Instead of doing the normal district provided surveys, I think I'll make my own and find out what my kids think/know/feel about my grading. I know I want to ask "how do you know what quality (good) work looks like in Algebra?"

Any other ideas for questions I/we could ask to get info about the grading system? I'd love some ideas from all of you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Question for Graders

I would like to make student learning more public. One way to do this is the elementary strategy of a chart with stars. Each student would get a star when they "master" an objective. What do you think about this strategy with middle and high schoolers? Is it motivating? Would we have to use student IDs rather than names? It seems like this would be a good way to share overall class data with the class. We could look at how the class is doing as a whole and we could see where the group needs extra help, etc.


Books that groove with grading:

Fair Isn't Always Equal, by Rick Wormeli
Differentiation, by Rick Wormeli
Ahead of the Curve, The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching & Learning, by Ainsworth, Almeida, Davies, and DuFour
Transforming Classroom Grading, by Robert Marzano
Improving Student Learning One Teacher At A Time, by Jane Pollock
Rethinking Homework, by Cathy Vatterott
Results Now, by Michael Schmoker

Thursday, December 3, 2009

BC's 4-3-2-1-0 Rubrics

First Ever “Grade Expectations” Club Meeting Notes

First Ever “Grade Expectations” Club Meeting Notes
November 14, 2009

Attending: B. Collins, M. Spriggs

To discuss current grading practices and the impact of those practices on student learning.
To share what works and what doesn’t and adjust and improve our systems.

What it is:
Students earn grades based on whether or not they meet learning targets. These learning targets include skills and knowledge of key mathematical concepts. For example:

Add and subtract integers.
Multiply and divide integers.

Students are assessed in a variety of ways multiple times on each skill/concept. Students receive a score of 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0 (or in Martha’s case, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6).

Every assignment given to students is directly related to a key skill/concept.

If students do not get a “4” on an assessment they can try again after additional practice.

What’s working?
Students are focused on learning.
Grades reflect learning, not completion of assignments.
Student focus is towards learning and away from point accumulation.
Providing students with student work and giving students a chance to score it supports students understanding of grading rubric (4,3,2,1,0 scale).
Students don’t receive an overall grade on assessments; rather they are graded on each skill/concept. Feedback is targeted.
Class average grades are higher than they have been compared to our old ways of grading.
Class average grades match benchmark assessment scores.
Providing students with skills/concepts to be learned at the beginning of unit keeps students focused on learning.
Students know what they know and they know what they don’t know.
Students can choose level of support for assessments. If they want to go for a “4” they cannot use notes or request hints from teacher.

Are some skills/concepts more important and should they be worth more points?
How can we connect these skills/concepts to the bigger math ideas?
Discovery grade book is cumbersome and does not show three grades for the same assignment (have to do paper or excel to keep records).
How do you decide on final letter grade?
How do we get more teachers on board?
What should we call the thing students are learning? Here are some ideas:
Learning target
Is there a benefit to using same language?

To do:
Bronwyn will email Martha her reflections on how this system works for her.
Bronwyn will email Martha grade scale poster (4,3,2,1,0 system)
Bronwyn and Martha will Survey students who are in classes with this system and students who are not.
Martha will invite other to join our group.
Set up a blog/website to share ideas, task cards, grade scales, assessments, etc.
Martha to send out these notes!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wow! My first ever blog. Who would've thought it would be about something as nerdy as grading practices? We hope to create an online location for teachers to share ideas, questions, successes and failures as we experiment with changing our grading practices.