Monday, October 17, 2016

So just now I was thinking... about implementing standards based grading. Woo!

by jessica maciejewski

Midway through our "EG Lead Learners Team" meeting today, my brain was afire with big-picture ideas. Now I'm the kind of person who is critical of ideas (my own included), but once I'm excited and have done basic research about something, I want to run with it. Give it a "trial by fire," persay, and see how it goes, reworking along the way.

So this summer I had the privilege of attending the Pearson Assessment Training Conference in Portland, Oregon, on grading practices. While I am skeptical about Pearson's actual interest in improving education versus making cash monies and maintaining ranking as a top institute merely for the value added to their brand, based on my own experiences with standardized tests and trainings as well as the awesome John Oliver's exposé in regards to standardized testing (holy crap this sentence is already "wordy"),



I left the conference with an educator crush on Myron Dueck and feeling intrigued by a 4- or 6-point grading scale based on below basic, basic, proficient, and mastery levels.

After viewing a bunch of different teachers' grade books (one from 1946, then the rest modern & online), I didn't see any I thought were effectively communicating student progress or fairly assigning grades. Then I looked at my own. I didn't like that one either (though I did like it a lot more than the others at least?). So I set some goals for my 2nd quarter:




















Soooooo my current grades are feast or famine. Which is maybe encouraging(?) because if a kid turned stuff in (at ALL), they're at a B. If s/he didn't... it's F City. Ugh, it feels intimate to share this:



Now, by the end of the term, that "grades are real!" hustle will kick in and I'll get more essays and etc. But is that fair? Am I doing this right? If a kid has not turned in aaaaaanything, I can't assess them, so it's listed as missing (which counts as a zero). They can make this up whenever. The sooner the better. Yep, made phone calls home. Yep, conferences with kids. Yep, referred them to the tutoring center. If I didn't do the Missing/0 thing, that kid would think they were passing and then ::SURPRISE, YOU FAILED!:: would happen the last week of the quarter. :/ Should they be passing at all if they have done zero work? E1 FD is Essay 1 First Draft, then E1 R is the revised version. Vocab is mastery oriented (vocabulary.com), self-paced, and falls under reading skills as does IR (independent reading). The grammar tests are self-paced. SAT is multiplied by zero and is not a score, just a baseline "fyi" for kids from our first SAT Writing in class test.

So here are my big idea steps/goals for Q2:

  • break down skills based on the Illinois grades 9-12 ELA Common Core (<that was ridiculously tedious to actually get to)
  • create descriptors of each level of ability in each skill
  • redesign rubrics based on skills
  • update gradebook for quarter 2 with all skills; include related assignments in comments section (Haiku Learning seems like it would be a fantastic standards based grading system, though I just discovered it and have never used it)

Ooookay. Sounds like I have enough for right now. I'm not even sure I can do this for Writing/Grammar, Reading/Vocab, and Speaking by next term. Ideas and *constructive* feedback welcome!

Want to know more about Habits of Work? Check out my post: HoW & Character

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