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It appears that elementary schools are taking the first step in our county to "fix the broken grade" syndrome and that middle schools and high schools are "fighting" the changes. However, it also appears that there is still a lot of subjectivity in assessing and interpreting the standards at many levels. For example, our county is changing the meaning of the standards every nine weeks via a rubric for the standards based report card. This makes reporting confusing to parents because one nine weeks students may earn a "3" for meeting expectations (based on the particular quarter's rubric) and the next nine weeks students could drop to a "2" which means "in progress" based on the newer/more difficult expectations for the same standard based next quarter's rubric. In order for the child to pass to the next grade they have to have a certain number of "3's" in the Language Arts and Math areas. It is very possible that if teachers have been grading via the rubric certain children have gotten "3's", but will not be able to "meet the expectations" the last nine weeks and end up with "twos" and possibly not earn enough "threes" for promotion. Do you have any suggestions/comments? Is it OK to assess using the standards and standards based report card with the last quarter rubric and assess with the "end in mind"? Also do you know of any states that have used standards based report cards in the past and have gone back to traditional report cards? Can you suggest a good example of a standards based report card format for middle school and high school that are being used in the United States? (PS.I am using your Repair kit book and How to Grade for Learning as texts in an assessment class I teach at the university level for teachers working on their Masters and specialist degrees. Both are thought provoking and encourage teachers to self reflect on their grading practices!)Thanks for setting up this web site and offering this opportunity to get some questions answered!

2010-02-16
Debbie
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:

I agree with your observation that elementary schools have generally made bigger steps
toward true standards-based grading reporting and that many middle and high schools
are being far too slow in moving to align their grading and reporting practices with their
standards-based curriculum, instruction and reporting.

The system that you describe in your county is a very acceptable way to proceed as long as
all stakeholders understand that ‘meeting expectations’ is for each quarter and that the
expectations for the next quarter may be different and thus students will not always
perform at the same level in the next grading period.

I agree with you that the judgments made are subjective but I do not see this as a bad
thing or something for which we need to apologize. What we have to do is make those
subjective performance standards clear so that teachers interpret them consistently and
students and parents understand them.

Is it OK to assess using the standards and standards based report card with the last
quarter rubric and assess with the "end in mind"?
Yes, it is the alternative to the approach used in your county, but it is sometimes a ‘hard
sell’ because most students will not see any 3’s (meeting expectations) till the third
quarter at the earliest.

Also do you know of any states that have used standards based report cards in the past
and have gone back to traditional report cards?
No.

Can you suggest a good example of a standards based report card format for middle
school and high school that are being used in the United States?
There are many excellent middle school standards based report cards and a few good high
school examples. Apart from looking at district or school web sites for examples I would
suggest you look at Tom Guskey and Jane Bailey’s new book from Corwin titled
"Developing Standards Based Report Cards."

I am using your Repair Kit book and How to Grade for Learning as texts in an assessment
class I teach at the university level for teachers working on their Masters and specialist
degrees. Both are thought provoking and encourage teachers to self reflect on their
grading practices. Thanks for setting up this web site and offering this opportunity to get
some questions answered!
Thank you for your kind words. I am thrilled to hear that you are using my books in a
university level assessment course.

 

 

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