## Grading Beliefs

Regardless of what kind of class I work in, my students are always incredibly important to me and I care about them a great deal. Because I care so much about my students, I want to see them succeed, to learn, and to grow. I want to communicate with them clearly and receive clear communication from them. And I want to always give them the grades which clearly reflect what they have learned. In order to create a fair and achievement-based grading system in my classroom, I will incorporate ideas based on solid grading research.

My Grading Scales and Practices:

Academic 4-Point Grading Scale

4 - Exceeds objective

3 - Meets objective

2 - Partially meets objective

1 - Does not meet objective at all

I (Incomplete) - Assignment is missing

4: Students will receive a 4 if they exceed the defined objective. These students are ahead on achieving expected standards.

3: Students will receive a 3 if they meet but do not exceed the defined objective. These students are right on track in achieving standards.

2: Students will receive a 2 if they have partially met the defined objective. These students are on their way to achieving standards, but will likely need extra help to get on track.

1: Students will receive a 1 if they have not met the objective at all. These students definitely need an intervention and action plan to get back on track in achieving standards.

I (Incomplete): Students will receive an Incomplete grade for missing assignments. They will then be required to attend Finish It sessions after school until they have completed the assignments.

Behavior 4-Point Grading Scale

4 - Exceeds behavior standard

3 - Meets behavior standard

2 - Partially meets behavior standard

1 - Does not meet behavior standard

4: Students will receive a 4 if they exceed the behavior standards defined by the class and teacher in the classroom norms and rules (See Management Profile). These students

3: Students will receive a 3 if they meet but do not exceed behavior standards defined by the class and teacher in the classroom norms and rules. These students demonstrate appropriate behavior most of the time.

2: Students will receive a 2 if they have partially met the behavior standards defined by the class and teacher in the classroom norms and rules. These students demonstrate appropriate behavior only some of the time.

1: Students will receive a 1 if they do not meet the behavior standards defined by the class and teacher in the classroom norms and rules. These students consistently demonstrate inappropriate behavior.

Why do I…

…choose to use a standards-based four-point grading scale?

As a math person, I understand the concept of ratios and proportions quite well. Unfortunately, when I examine the traditional grading scale used by so many of my teachers growing up, I realize the dis-proportionality of the scale makes it very unfair. Prominent grading experts agree that having a disproportionally large set of points for assigning a failing grade is not a fair and ethical grading practice (Guskey, 2004). My four-point grading scale will make these ratios equivalent and give students a more logical chance of success. Students will receive these grades based on how well they have achieved certain standards, rather than how their achievement compares to other classmates or pre-established norms. (See Academic Grading Scale below).

…separate achievement grades from effort and behavior grades?

When all the ingredients of a cake are stirred together, the finished batter is not a valuable representation of any

…use an Incomplete grading system instead of zeros?

It is clear to me from research as well as from personal experience that issuing zeros as grades for missing assignments or other behavior issues is not a beneficial practice for anyone involved in the grading process. Students become less motivated, teachers cannot accurately judge how well students have mastered standards assessed by those assignments, and other stakeholders receive an inaccurate representation of student learning (Guskey, 2004). In my classroom I will avoid assigning zeros for missing assignments by instituting an “Incomplete” grading system. In this system, students will receive an “I” (for incomplete) in the grade book for any assignments they are missing. Students who receive an “I” will be required to attend “Finish It”, a special after-school session for students to complete their missing assignments. Teachers will rotate in hosting these sessions so that each student hosts one session a week. If students have a legitimate reason why they cannot stay after school to finish work (sports and extracurricular activities are NOT valid excuses), they will need to make up assignments during recess time. In this way, students will receive grades which truly reflect what they have learned, rather than zeros showing they have learned absolutely nothing. They will also better learn the material by being required to finish their assignments rather than simply getting “off the hook” with zeros.

I will also…

…Use the most current achievement data.

In as many situations as possible, I will assign students grades based on their most current achievement of standards rather than averages of their achievement throughout several assessments of the standards. In this way, students’ grades will truly represent what they have learned and allow even students who struggle in the beginning to be successful (Guskey, 2002).

…Take each student into account, not treating them simply as numbers.

Few things in this world can be treated as black and white, numerical sets of data, and students are no exception to this. Although test scores and grades seem black and white, there are often many more factors involved in scores students receive than simply how well they know the material. Situations at home, sickness, and even distractions during an assessment can greatly affect scores students receive. As a teacher, I will know my students and take all factors into account when grading assignments. Even if it means reassessing students over the same standards, I will do my best to make sure each student’s grade accurately represents his/her academic achievement.

My Grading Scales and Practices:

Academic 4-Point Grading Scale

4 - Exceeds objective

3 - Meets objective

2 - Partially meets objective

1 - Does not meet objective at all

I (Incomplete) - Assignment is missing

4: Students will receive a 4 if they exceed the defined objective. These students are ahead on achieving expected standards.

3: Students will receive a 3 if they meet but do not exceed the defined objective. These students are right on track in achieving standards.

2: Students will receive a 2 if they have partially met the defined objective. These students are on their way to achieving standards, but will likely need extra help to get on track.

1: Students will receive a 1 if they have not met the objective at all. These students definitely need an intervention and action plan to get back on track in achieving standards.

I (Incomplete): Students will receive an Incomplete grade for missing assignments. They will then be required to attend Finish It sessions after school until they have completed the assignments.

Behavior 4-Point Grading Scale

4 - Exceeds behavior standard

3 - Meets behavior standard

2 - Partially meets behavior standard

1 - Does not meet behavior standard

4: Students will receive a 4 if they exceed the behavior standards defined by the class and teacher in the classroom norms and rules (See Management Profile). These students

*consistently*demonstrate appropriate behavior.3: Students will receive a 3 if they meet but do not exceed behavior standards defined by the class and teacher in the classroom norms and rules. These students demonstrate appropriate behavior most of the time.

2: Students will receive a 2 if they have partially met the behavior standards defined by the class and teacher in the classroom norms and rules. These students demonstrate appropriate behavior only some of the time.

1: Students will receive a 1 if they do not meet the behavior standards defined by the class and teacher in the classroom norms and rules. These students consistently demonstrate inappropriate behavior.

Why do I…

…choose to use a standards-based four-point grading scale?

As a math person, I understand the concept of ratios and proportions quite well. Unfortunately, when I examine the traditional grading scale used by so many of my teachers growing up, I realize the dis-proportionality of the scale makes it very unfair. Prominent grading experts agree that having a disproportionally large set of points for assigning a failing grade is not a fair and ethical grading practice (Guskey, 2004). My four-point grading scale will make these ratios equivalent and give students a more logical chance of success. Students will receive these grades based on how well they have achieved certain standards, rather than how their achievement compares to other classmates or pre-established norms. (See Academic Grading Scale below).

…separate achievement grades from effort and behavior grades?

When all the ingredients of a cake are stirred together, the finished batter is not a valuable representation of any

*one*ingredient. For instance, no one can look at the batter and comment on the quality of the eggs or fineness of the flour. Similarly, combining different ingredients into a grade makes it impossible to form valid conclusions about any single component of that grade (Guskey, 2002). Since grades should communicate student achievement, only student achievement should be considered in grades. Because it is also valuable to communicate how students are doing in regards to behavior and effort, these scores can also be shown but should be listed in a separate grade. In my classroom, I will represent academic achievement and behavior in separate grades. (See grading scales below).…use an Incomplete grading system instead of zeros?

It is clear to me from research as well as from personal experience that issuing zeros as grades for missing assignments or other behavior issues is not a beneficial practice for anyone involved in the grading process. Students become less motivated, teachers cannot accurately judge how well students have mastered standards assessed by those assignments, and other stakeholders receive an inaccurate representation of student learning (Guskey, 2004). In my classroom I will avoid assigning zeros for missing assignments by instituting an “Incomplete” grading system. In this system, students will receive an “I” (for incomplete) in the grade book for any assignments they are missing. Students who receive an “I” will be required to attend “Finish It”, a special after-school session for students to complete their missing assignments. Teachers will rotate in hosting these sessions so that each student hosts one session a week. If students have a legitimate reason why they cannot stay after school to finish work (sports and extracurricular activities are NOT valid excuses), they will need to make up assignments during recess time. In this way, students will receive grades which truly reflect what they have learned, rather than zeros showing they have learned absolutely nothing. They will also better learn the material by being required to finish their assignments rather than simply getting “off the hook” with zeros.

I will also…

…Use the most current achievement data.

In as many situations as possible, I will assign students grades based on their most current achievement of standards rather than averages of their achievement throughout several assessments of the standards. In this way, students’ grades will truly represent what they have learned and allow even students who struggle in the beginning to be successful (Guskey, 2002).

…Take each student into account, not treating them simply as numbers.

Few things in this world can be treated as black and white, numerical sets of data, and students are no exception to this. Although test scores and grades seem black and white, there are often many more factors involved in scores students receive than simply how well they know the material. Situations at home, sickness, and even distractions during an assessment can greatly affect scores students receive. As a teacher, I will know my students and take all factors into account when grading assignments. Even if it means reassessing students over the same standards, I will do my best to make sure each student’s grade accurately represents his/her academic achievement.