Tuesday, January 12, 2010

BC's Gradescale

When I switched to grading on a 4-3-2-1-0 rubric, I created a new grade scale on Discovery. I felt I need to do so because the traditional grade scale calculates 3/4 = 75% = C. I didn't think a student who was proficient (which is what my 3 means) at all objectives should recieve a C. So here it is:
A = 90%
D= 56%

Now a person getting all 3's (meeting objective) would recieve a B-. You need to be exceeding on some objectives to get higher than a B+
A person earning all 2's (progressing) and a couple 3's would recieve a D-.

Any thoughts? Anyone else want to share their grade scale?


  1. We've been having similar discussions at MJH. We decided to stick with the traditional grading scale, figuring that a 4 = proficient and someone who is proficient in all standards should get an A. 3 = basic; I've described this to my kids as you showed proficiency but at the minimum level; you passed, but it's not really *good* work, which seems to deserve a C. Someone who has a combination of 3s and 4s then would earn a B. We decided that someone who earned all 2s shouldn't pass; how can we pass a student who is not proficient in any of our class's standards?

    So I guess we have different views of what the numbers (1-4) mean? I think we need another coffee meeting! =)

  2. I am wondering what things go into your grade? Is it just the points toward mastery or are their other things? If there are other things, then what and what percentage?

  3. As for math at MJH we have been doing 90% assessments (with the opportunity to re-do if proficiency isn't met the first time) and 10% assignments which we've renamed "practices." That way the kid who "aces" the exam still gets a high B, but not the A+ earned by the kid who aces assessments AND completes all relevant practices.

    One catch for students is that the practices, while not required for the mandatory first assessment ARE required to re-test/re-submit project. We likened it to sports, and students related to a coach not allowing you to play in the big game if you haven't been participating in the practices.

  4. Phusaki,

    So you offer the students 2 opprotunities to demonstrate the mastery of the objectives? If they do not do well the second time around, can they take it a 3rd time?

    About how often do you do assessments? What form of assessments do you use (exit tickets, quizes, formal tests)?

    I am finding it difficult to find the time to create the extra practice, reteach and reassess.

    Suggestions anyone?

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  6. If a lot of kids need to re-assess, I will create a new assessment (maybe just an exit ticket or warm up) for those objectives. If kids need to make up objectives that most kids already mastered, they come in after school and I either make up problems on the spot, pick problems from the book or use the alternate test form (I always make 2 versions of a test or quiz as a cheating deterrent, but now its a handy re-assess tool, too.)

    SD, I do put classwork (mostly notebook check scores, basically checked for completion) and homework (which students score themselves) into my gradebook. But assessments make up the largest percentage of the grade. I was at 60% assessment this quarter, but would like to be higher. Will change to 70% for quarter 3.

  7. All of those are good questions...

    First, we (co-teacher and I) started standards-based at the start of 2nd trimester, a few weeks before winter break. We gave our first assessment then, offered re-teaching and re-testing after break.

    After re-teaching and re-testing, we have four basic groups of students:
    1) proved proficient on all 4 skills tested
    2) wasn't proficient on one or more skills, re-tested and now proficient
    3) wasn't proficient on all 4 skills, didn't follow through with the assignment rule so didn't re-test and not too worried about it
    4) re-tested and still not proficient

    Group 3, though disappointing, we can not chase down and force to take the necessary steps (completing assignment practices) to change their scores.

    Group 4 is by far the absolute smallest. Students who have expressed interest in a 3rd opportunity will get it, though it will be on their own time in a different format (perhaps a step-by-step teaching of "How to prove two shapes are similar" or something like that). Other students who may be improved proficiency in one area but not another, thereby raising their grade to their liking, have not asked about a third opportunity.

    Our second (and only other) assessment is a project: dilating figures on a coordinate plane. We took in the first round of projects last week and handed them back this week. Re-do projects are due Monday, 1/25 so we shall see what happens.

  8. I teach 7th grade mathematics. 95% of students grade is based on whether or not they meet learning targets. 5% is based on learning activities. The learning activities include things like homework, notebook checks, classroom activities, and other activities that I consider "practicing".

    One thing to consider is NOT grading every assignment, and instead, just providing feedback that will move their learning forward. This can turn out to be more time consuming that a simple grade, or score. One solution to that is to ask students to evaluate one another's work based on your scoring rubric.

    As far as what to do when students don't master the learning target, we're trying two things. First, students are invited to stay after school once a week. Second, two times a month, we have an alternative schedule where we shorten our classes to make way for an additional class. This extra class is targeted to students who need extra support in a certain class. Teachers meet on Wednesday to decide on which student goes to which class.

  9. MS,
    How do you run notebook checks, especially since practice assignments are only 5% of your grade? In the old grading system, I used to grade (=look over and comment on) nearly every assignment in student notebooks and that was a huge part of their grade. I just collected notebooks and now can't decide what to do with them, how to grade them, how much time to spend on them, how particular to be, since they represent such a small part of students' grades . . . .

  10. Here's how I do my notebook checks:

    I do not comment on every assignment. I choose assignments that I think are important practice/learning opportunities and look for those (maybe one per week since the last check). I write very brief feedback on those.

    My students also do their homework in their notebooks, which they self-score. I add up the points they gave themselves, keeping my eyes out for kids who are giving themselves a lot of 1's or 2's as well as kids who are giving themselves a lot of 4's but then are not showing mastery on assessments.

    After looking at both classwork and homework, I write each student a short note, commenting on their progress towards mastery, their effort (and how that my be affecting mastery), or a follow up to the note from a previous check. I do not record numerical scores for students to see in their notebook--they go in the computer (so kids can see them if they look later). This is my effort to try "comments only" grading in some way. Kids do read their comments and none of them seem to mind that their score isn't recorded right there for them to see.

  11. Here's how I check notebooks: I collect them about once a month and I make comments where I see the need. I don't grade them at all. However, if a student has nothing, or very little to show for their classwork, I will conference with them to get them back on track. Prior to collecting notebooks, I have them use a "notebook checklist" with a peer and they do a peer assessment. The checklist includes basic things like:
    - is there a label/date for every entry?
    - did you show your work/thinking whenever possible?
    - did you do a warm-up every day?
    - is it clear and legible?

    Remember - I don't grade this. They just give each other feedback and then I write comments. I like students to see their notebook as a learning tool. The more they write and reflect, the more able they are to understand the math ideas.