Grading is one of the most laborious tasks a teacher endures as part of his/her job description. However, if done correctly, it can provide a useful tool to help teachers and students know where they are in the scope of larger learning standards. The authors take a pretty firm stance on the practice of grading such things as effort and behavior. They advocate that feedback on such things should be kept separate from actual grading practices, but I believe that this is one area that makes grading so difficult. Most teachers naturally feel for a student that works really hard and is trying his/her best to learn a new concept or complete an activity. However, giving credit for effort does a complete disservice to the learning targets process. The process, in its purest form, calls for student self-regulation against a target. If grades are inflated, a student (and their parents) may get a false sense of where they are in the learning progression. Honest feedback is key to student self-regulation against any performance of understanding.
The other common error we make in grading is a misalignment of the task to the true learning target. If the target asks for a student to learn or demonstrate a particular skill, but the activity does not align with those expectations, it is difficult to determine if the student met the learning goal. This is why pre-planning of the lesson becomes essential.
When creating a summative assessment, teachers following a true learning targets process should find it fairly straightforward to create their assessments. First, if you are using the learning targets process, then there should be multiple opportunities within a unit of study to assess student progress. This also allows a student to know exactly what to expect on the summative and have support measures built in throughout the unit. The Assessment blueprint on pg. 137, gives a great example about how a well-planned unit with multiple learning targets can easily form an aligned summative assessment. In my District, our assessment blue print this year will rely on Supporting and Readiness Standards as prescribed by the state. However, a challenge for teachers will be making sure their daily learning targets align with the written curriculum but also the assessment.
1. How do you feel about students having an opportunity to re-do an assignment in which they received a poor grade?
2. What is your opinion on grading students on effort? Or Progress?
3. How confident are you that the grades you give students on their report cards truly reflect what they have learned?