making standards-based grading work in the classroom tara richerson wera; march 26, 2009

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  • Making Standards-based Grading Work in the ClassroomTara RichersonWERA; March 26, 2009

  • Be Careful What You Wish For

  • Formative Assessment

    Read Chris: The Case of the Truant Student and think about the question posed at the end of the scenario.

    Share your thoughts with a neighbor and then with the group.

  • Parent Reaction

    I wanted to thank you for giving him a chance to redeem himself. You are the only one of his teachers who was willing to do so. I know he has it in him to do well in school; we just need to find a way to keep him motivated. Again, thank you for everything and have a super summer.

  • What motivates students?

  • Ability and Effort

  • Intelligence

  • Current Theories of MotivationGoals

  • Trying to Understand Work More Time on Task Developing New Skills Test Anxiety Perfectionism Absences Truancies Procrastination What grade did you get? Cheating Copying/Plagiarizing Choosing the Easiest Option

  • PALS

  • Interpreting Your SurveyYou have a mastery approach if you believed that items 2, 5, 6, and 8 were true of your classroom.

    You have a performance approach if you believed that items 1, 3, 4, 7, and 9 were true of your classroom.

  • Are we about Mastery or Performance?

  • EqualFair

  • Equal



  • Does a dislike of grading indicate a symptom of the lack of fit between what teachers are asked to do and actual practice? (Brookhart, 1994)

  • How many levels of performance are there?

  • Levels of PerformanceLevel One

  • Levels of PerformanceLevel Two (can do with help)

  • Levels of PerformanceLevel Three (can do independently)

  • Levels of PerformanceLevel Four

  • Teacher Generated Field NotesFolder and Sticky Note Chart

    Roster with Targets: Use hash marks with dates to track observations

    Stickers on a Clipboard: Choose 3 5 students to watch; make notes on stickers to place in record book at end of day

  • Student Generated Field Notes

    Printed sheet with targets for students to track

    Graph progress on targets

  • Recording Data

    Standard 1Last NameFirst NameTask 1Task 2Task 3BrownCharlie113BrownSally233PattyPeppermint111Van PeltLinus343Van PeltLucy112

    Standard 1Last NameFirst NameTask 1Task 2Task 3BrownCharlie113BrownSally233PattyPeppermint111Van PeltLinus343Van PeltLucy112

  • Data Visualization

  • Motion Graphs

  • Number Crunching

    Grades in both systems can be thought of as a kind of continuum

  • Number Crunching

  • Whats ImportantCan a student tell you what his/her grade is and why?

    Conference with students.My strengths are ___.I can improve by ___.My grade is a ___ because ___.

  • Another View of Number Crunching

  • Final ReflectionWhat did you see today that caused you to think, wonder, dream, plan, or question?

    What are the consequences of what you saw?

    What are your next steps?

  • CreditsWorking with Students by Neighborhood Charter House SchoolNo Pressure, Appeal Your Grade, and Cognitive Dissonance by Married to the SeaRewards by KristinAfter School Punishment by Icky PicShe Likes Books by Zef DelgadilloMountain Climbing at Dusk by PoofyBrains by UnknownTwo Kinds of Human Beings by UnknownGratitude and No Make-up Exams by T. RichersonSurvey by mygigiReflection by UnknownGraphJamRecord Keeping by Joe ThornConcentric Target by TengtanAreachart, Heatmap, and Dashboard Example by SparklinesIs the World a Better Place? by GapminderSometimes Life is Like This by Hailun

    IntroductionSelfInterest in GradingBiases and Assumptions****

    Teachers sometimes use classroom assessments as rewards/punishments---this does not foster student intrinsic motivation; this kind of control will result in cooperation for order but not engagement which is necessary for learning---Brookhart, 1994, p. 295

    ****Mastery goals have been shown to increase the following behaviors:Development of new skills; risk-takingTrying to understand workImproved level of confidencePreference for challenging workIntrinsic interest in learning activitiesIncreased time on taskPersistence in face of difficulty*PALS has an internal consistency of .75 - .86 and a construct validity index of .94 (Ross, et al., 2002, p. 487)

    PALS allows for valid inferences about student approaches to learning (Ross, et al., 2002, p. 493)

    PALS has very low skewness and kurtosis; best distributional properties of the inventories (Jagacinski & Duda, 2001, p. 1023)

    PALS allows for greater differentiation of agreement than the Likert type format because of degrees of truth as opposed to degrees of agreement (Jagacinski & Duda, 2001, p. 1034)*Items 2, 5, 6, and 8 indicate a Mastery ApproachItems 1, 3, 4, 7, and 9 indicate a Performance Approach*If we truly believe that mastery goals are important, do the messages (either overt or hidden) match these beliefs? This is where the rubber meets the road with grading, but it is true for other areas as well. These are two pictures from the high school I worked in last year. What is their message?

    Another story to think about is one I heard from a science teacher I worked with a few years ago. She was upset because a student was transferring from her chemistry class to one with a different teacher. The student was earning an A. He told the teacher, I just dont feel like Im learning anything. The teacher was incensed. And while the student might have chosen his words a bit more carefully, what the teacher was really upset about was that if the kid had an A in her class, then he must be lying about his lack of learning. Ill bet all of us have had experiences like this student, however. We know how to play the classroom game enough to please the teacher or meet the requirements of the course, but thats a very different thing than actually learning. This kid wanted the learning, not the grade. How many others are like him but unwilling to speak up or accepting of the status quo because it is what others (e.g. parents, teachers) expect?

    *NCLB, for all its faults, has really forced us as educators to have some hard conversations about equity.

    When I talk about my grading policy with students, there is often some confusion around the terms equal and fair. As I look back at my own practices, I think perhaps I confused them, too. Im sure that I didnt always make it clear for kids.

    Often the most important and revealing behaviors in a culture are the least noticed (Wiggins, 1988).

    Teachers guard their grading practices with the same passion with which one might guard an unedited diary or sacred ground (Kain, 1996). *Take a moment to recall your most vivid experience with grading as a student.

    Share out. (Are most of the stories negative?)

    Talk about Grading Philosophy.

    **Whenever I hear teachers complain about grading papers, it gets my attention. You might think Im crazy, but shouldnt grading be one of the most exciting things about classroom work? It is your opportunity to see growth in students and think creatively about adjusting your instruction. This is where learning happens---and yet, teachers often look at it as drudgery.

    Brookharts observation seems appropriate not only in light of that, but also because as coaches, you are trying to align what teachers are asked to do with actual practice. Some of what you do will influence instruction and assessment---but you also have an opportunity to impact evaluation, too.

    Are we (educators) focusing on the right things? If reflecting on student learning is such drudgery, then perhaps we need to think about our current practices.*Another large part of my grading policy was communicating with students about levels of performance.

    In a traditional classroom, percentages are used---based on number of correct answers and/or weighting. However, this type of grading doesnt really tell the teacher much about what the student does or does not understand. Furthermore, it is difficult to explain the difference between 83% and 84% in terms of student learning. I had a student come back and tell me that my honors bio class was the only one on her transcript that had an A-. She was really mad about that---even as a senior. Do I really want to be remembered that way? Could I truly justify it?

    If you were to make a rubric with 101 levels (0 100), could you write descriptors for them all?

    Furthermore, I decided to ban zeros from my classroom. If the assignment is important for learning, then the student should do it. Its as simple as that. If the student makes a choice not to do their homework, then that is a behavior I need to address just the same as breaking any rule in a class. But to give a student a zero tells the kid that (a) the assignment is not important and (b) that I am going to use grades as rewards and punishments, not as indicators of learning. Instead, I gave students an Incomplete and required them to do the work.

    The grading scale looks a little different then: 1 4. This scale was used on all assignments. Well take a closer look at this scale on the next few slides (also on back of grading policy)**********Too often, the kind of information that can be gathered from daily performances Is overlooked. Uncollected for analysis and reflections, its revisited only as we happen to recall it. Such recall may be sketchy, fragmented, embellished, or simply wrong. More often, the information is completely lost.

    Working much as anthropologists in an archaeological dig gathering artifacts, teachers can act scientifically to gather relevant artifacts left from learning episodes. The classro