- allows students the opportunity to grow
- reports student performing in relation to current content and grade level standards
The smaller, 20% category is not for homework (though some homework does end up a part of this), rather it is used to report "daily work and assignments." It is there to recognize the daily practice, both in and outside of class, that students complete to build basic knowledge and skills before completing a culminating project. This is a low percentage for many reasons:
- It is practice and as such rarely is perfect, so students self-assess and revise their work on the spot.
- It is the completion of low-level comprehension questions, notes, online responses, or worksheets that can easily by copied from peers or found online.
- It is a small score given as checkpoint to track progress and to acknowledge completion of a task that will later be fully assessed and scored in the "test and quizzes" category.
It is understandable that this modified form of standards-aligned grading feels different and unfamiliar to those of us 30 and older who attended schools that used traditional report cards. Educational researchers have spent a fair amount of time studying and disproving the notion that traditional report cards provide much more than a biased view of a student's progress. They have found that traditional report card grades reward students for work completion (effort) and the dichotomous "got it / didn’t get it" of one-answer testing. Standards-aligned grading is meant to record a student's ability in relation to current grade-level standards in a way that is equitable. In the last two years, I worked with other Camas teachers and administrators to develop this system based from ideas explored by educational researchers like Robert Marzano and Rick Wormeli, and current teacher evaluation criteria set by the State of Washington. I am continuing to refine the system to even more closely report on each student's ability in relation to key "Power Standards". To help move our professional practice forward, in November, Principal Smith has asked Skyridge teachers to attend a two-day conference to deepen our understanding of fair grading practices and share back what we learn with the school and district. I am excited that the Team Summit teachers who I teach with, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Buckley, and Mrs. Abney, have all volunteered to attend.
I plan to continue to post more on this topic as I learn more and adapt my practices. If you would like to further your understanding, I recommend watching any of the embedded links or check out some of the authors I have referenced.
Rick Wormeil, Fair Isn't Always Equal, 2006
Robert Marzano, Formative Assessment and Standards Based Grading: Strategies that Work, 2009.