Conferences and Workshops
Ask the Grade Doctor
Contact Me

Ask The Grade Doctor

Full Question Detail

Return to All Questions


Hi Ken, Our province has just developed a 4 point rubric of achievement levels to be used in assessing student work. Currently, for those schools using outcome-based assessment, teachers have to convert rubric scores for achievement to a final letter grade based on the number of outcomes met during the reporting period. (From quality 1-4, to quantity-A=all, B=most,C=some and D=few) Many have come to realize that these indicators do not mix well! So now our province is discussing changing the A-D descriptors to be more qualitative and are looking for some consensus on qualitative descriptors. I know many provinces across Canada are using 1-4 as reporting codes and I am thinking our qualitative descriptors for 1-4(which refer to level of understanding and skill application) should also be our report card achievement descriptors as well. Why have two different symbols that basically refer to the same thing. I get that the descriptors need to be specific to content, in student friendly language and co-constructed or at least student reviewed, when using rubrics to promote student learning and give descriptive feedback, but can the more general rubric also be used as evaluative and for reporting overall student achievement on report cards? (we also include anecdotal comments with students strengths, challenges and suggestions for improvement). What are your thoughts? If we should be looking for good qualitative descriptors for our A-D reporting codes, can you suggest some good resources? Thanks in advance!



I believe we need "good qualitative (generic) descriptors for our A-D reporting codes" that
form the base for the marking schemes, rubrics and exemplars that are used for classroom
assessments. Examples can be found for Ontario, Manitoba and BC on the respective
Ministry websites. Judy Arter and Jay McTighe wrote an excellent book on rubrics for
Corwin ("Scoring Rubrics in the Classroom). Tom Guskey also wrote an excellent article on
performance standards in the Kappan magazinein 2004 - v86(4), pages326-329.