So after many hours of reading (see blogroll), discussing, thinking, editing, thinking more, trying, rethinking, reediting, and setting up ActiveGrade…I think I am finally comfortable with the grading system I plan on using this year…and seriously, there are no numbers…anywhere. Below are the details in FAQ form
So what are your ‘grading policies’?
They are outlined in the document below.
Cool, so what are the learning goals for your classes and how will students keep track of them?
You can see these on another post I did here. After an assessment, students will write down their score for each goal so they know what they have to continue to work on.
What grading software are you using?
ActiveGrade – This software is standards based grading oriented, easy to use for teachers and students, and the staff is very responsive and helpful.
What I see:
What a student/parent sees:
Okay, but most teachers are required to use their school’s grading software…are you still going to use yours?
Our school’s grading software (eSIS) is pretty traditional in that the grade book lists assignments at top and point values below, then the software calculates a grade based on how the grading scale is defined (90%=A 80%=B, etc.). I am still going to enter grades into eSIS, but only twice a trimester – once for a progress report grade, and once for a final trimester grade. I will look at a student’s progress using ActiveGrade and how many of the goals they’ve mastered, then enter a single percentage according to the scale I’ve defined in the policies document above.
Seems legit…how are you going to communicate this stuff to parents?
I’ll be giving them the policies document above and also discussing it with them via a powerpoint on parent’s night. You can see it below. It’s modified from versions done by teacher/bloggers John Burk and Frank Noschese. Thanks for sharing gentlemen.
I thought numbers helped break down things really specifically for students…what’s with the ‘no numbers’ philosophy?
I believe a grade should only communicate what a student understands or can do. Behind every number (or ‘point’) in a grading system there should be some sort of information telling us what those points communicate about what a student understands or can do. I believe that it is actually easier to get at this information if we uncover it from this ‘pile of points’. It’s not the points that help a student see their level of understanding, it’s the underlying information. Focusing on this information (outlined above: starting, progressing, mastery) with respect to a learning goal, and getting specific feedback about it will help students improve at what they’re trying to do. Points aren’t bad, we just don’t really need them. That’s why there are no numbers in my grading system.
You could also check out an earlier post about why I’m moving from points to standards.