Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Grading Reform: Part 2

After we established our common beliefs about homework we moved on to our next challenge, should behavior be included in a grade? If we want accurate grades then shouldn't behaviors be removed from them? Based on our research review we found that there are several behaviors or academic enablers that have historically impacted a grade. Currently, academic enablers may impact a grade in a positive or a negative way. If we are going to have more accurate grades then we need to find a way to report these behaviors separately. I want to be clear that we believe that behaviors are important, but they shouldn't inflate or deflate a student's grade.

Some of our elementary teachers are already reporting behaviors separately:

Grade 2 example:
  • I am organized and responsible for my belongings
  • I can complete work neatly and carefully
  • I can listen and follow directions
  • I can use my time wisely
  • I can work independently
  • I can seek help when I need it
  • I participate in class discussions
  • I can work quietly without disrupting others
  • I can show self-control
  • I am respectful to others
The following two questions and the research articles below guided our discussions. What should go into a grade? What inhibits the accuracy of the grade? 

Here are some excellent research articles that helped us with this topic:

Effective Grading Practices in the Middle School and High School Environments - Hanover Research 

How Grading Reform Changed Our School - Jeffrey Erickson

A Century of Grading Research - Thomas Guskey


Here is what we came up with regarding separating behavior from the grade:

Reporting academics and behaviors separately

Grades are accurate when they include only the current or most recent performance on a skill or a standard or on multiple skills and standards.

Grades are inaccurate when they include the following:

  • Effort 
  • Work habits
  • Attention
  • Participation (unless participation is a part of the skill/standard being assessed)
  • Behavior infractions (e.g. removal from class; plagiarism; cheating; defiance)
  • Bonus points
  • Attendance
  • Averaging 
  • Other methods that include points/marks that are not directly tied to the performance on a skill or a standard or on multiple skills and standards.    

The above mentioned behaviors are important academic enablers and should be assessed and reported separately from the academic grade.

More to come.