Grading Guidelines

Grading Guideline #1

Gradebook entries clearly communicate what students know and can do toward an essential learning and do not reflect behavior.

What it Means
Everything in a learning based gradebook clearly communicates students’ evidence of performance toward an essential learning; it is academic evidence. 

In learning based gradebooks, entries do not reflect neatness, creativity, attendance, group achievement, attitude, timeliness, engagement, compliance, effort, responsibility, or behaviors of any kind.  There are more effective ways to hold students accountable, as well as to more clearly communicate problems or growth in such behaviors.

Philosophical Foundations
“When schools allow an endless number of combinations or interpretations in grading, the reported data become ambiguous. If schools ensure that grades are only about achievement, they are more likely to convey a clear and consistent message. “ --Grading from the Inside Out: Bringing Accuracy to Student Assessment Through a Standards-Based Mindset by Tom Schimmer p. 24

“Record evidence of subject area achievement separately from evidence of student characteristics such as effort, class participation, compliance with rules, attitude, neatness/sloppiness of a paper, timeliness of turning in assignments, attendance, interactions and cooperation with classmates, and classroom attention and/or inattention. Keeping these valuable pieces of information separate facilitates instructional planning and communicating about problems.” --Classroom Assessment for Student Learning by Richard Stiggins et al. p.311

Grading Guideline #2

Multiple pieces of evidence are used to assess individual standards.

What it means
Students learn different subjects at varying rates, therefore students who did not demonstrate understanding by (insert date) should be allowed to demonstrate understanding at a later date.

Teachers consider multiple ways of assessing the same standard for different students.

Students complete additional assessments  targeting specific standards they currently do not understand at a proficient level.

Teachers should provide individual students additional opportunities to demonstrate understanding after the final regularly scheduled whole group assessment for that particular standard.

Philosophical Foundations
“Recognizing that single measures of student learning can be flawed or unreliable, most teachers use multiple sources of information when assigning marks or grades to students’ achievement level of performance.” --On Your Mark:  Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting by Thomas Guskey  p. 90

“Grading with proficiency keeps student performance in a state of flux. Students must grow to a specific level of competency and maintain that level. This fluidity not only increases the coursework’s rigor but also increases the accountability to learn.” --Pathways to Proficiency: Implementing Evidence-Based Grading by Troy Gobble et al.  p. 116

Grading Guideline #3

Extra credit and bonus points are not given.

What it Means
Students will not be given extra assignments for the purpose of artificially improving a summative or final grade.

In order to increase level of proficiency, students will need to prove learning of the essential learning through reassessment.

Philosophical Foundations
“ A low grade simply communicates a learning gap; the way to raise the grade is to learn more. --“Grading to Communicate” by Tony Winger

“The basic problem with weaving extra credit and bonus points into a grade when they reflect something other than the expected learning is that they distort the record of achievement. Extra credit and bonus points stem from the belief that school is about doing the work, accumulating points, and that quantity is key--with more being better--rather than about achieving higher levels of learning.”--A Repair Kit for Grading by Ken O’Connor, p. 33

Grading Guideline #4

Individual practice/homework will not be calculated in determining a final grade.

What it Means
All practice assignments and activities will be aligned with course standards.

Multiple opportunities to practice standards independently through homework or other class work will be provided.

Practice assignments and activities help students prepare for instruction, to review or practice, or to extend learning opportunities.

Practice assignments and activities inform instruction and provide an opportunity  for teacher to give feedback in relation to the learning goal.

Philosophical Foundations
“Homework should support rather than discourage student learning...It should never be used as punishment or in place of classroom instruction. Homework should not be considered to be a measure of rigor of the curriculum; the fact that students have homework or a particular amount of homework does not mean that the school has a rigorous curriculum. The purpose of homework should be clearly articulated to students and stakeholders.”--Classroom Instruction That Works by Ceri B. Dean et al. p.106

“Providing feedback (rather than grades) on homework can encourage students to take risks and show teachers aspects of their conceptual understanding that they might now have revealed on a graded assignment” --Classroom Instruction That Works by Ceri B. Dean et al. p.108

“Homework is never to learn material the first time around...If students have a partial understanding of something and we ask them to practice or rehearse the material in the homework assignment that night, we are doing them a disservice. They will learn it incorrectly, and it will take ten times the emotional and intellectual energy to go back and undo “bad” learning.” --Fair Isn’t Always Equal by Rick Wormeli p. 116

“When homework is used as formative assessment, students have multiple opportunities to practice, get feedback from the teacher, and improve. Homework becomes a safe place to try out new skills without penalty, just as athletes and musicians try out their skills on the practice field or in rehearsals. Effective homework is the rehearsal before the final event.” --“Homework: A Few Practice Arrows” by Susan Christopher

Grading Guideline #5

Reassessment and revision within the learning process will be encouraged for all students to reach their highest level of proficiency. 

What it Means
Students learn at different paces and, often, with different techniques or approaches.  To help students most effectively demonstrate their learning, we encourage focused reassessments with certain learning-based parameters (such as additional practice and/or instruction) prior to reassessment. 

Philosophical Foundations
“When students know or understand more than they once did, the reassessment opportunity allow teachers to measure (and report) students’ current level of proficiency...”-- From Grading from the Inside Out: Bringing Accuracy to Student Assessment Through a Standards-Based Mindset  by Tom Schimmer p. 64

“Classroom assessments and grading should focus on how well--not on when--the student mastered the designated knowledge and skill.” -- “Seven Practices for Effective Learning” by Jay McTighe and Ken O’Connor

“The teacher who claims to be preparing students for the working world by disallowing all redos forgets that adult professionals actually flourish through redos, retakes, and do overs. Surgeons practice on cadavers before doing surgeries on live patients. Architects redesign building plans until they meet all the specifications listed. Pilots rehearse landings and take-offs hundreds of times in simulators and in solo flights before flying with real passengers. Lawyers practice debate and analysis of arguments before litigating real cases. Teachers become much more competent and effective by teaching the same content multiple times, reflecting on what  worked and what didn’t work each time...The best preparation for the world beyond school is to learn essential content and skills well.” -- “Redos and Retakes Done Right” by Rick Wormeli