Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications

Grading for Learning: Using Standards-Based Grading to Inform Teaching around the Common Core July 17, 2014

I am not an assessment expert. I have, however, looked long and hard at most current assessment fads. I’ve tried many, with mixed results, and kept those nuggets showing promise in my own practice. So have my colleagues. We’re learning the value of real, organic collaboration in teaching, learning, and assessing. We’re coming up with better and better ways to assess student learning every day.

Admittedly, I came kicking and screaming to standards-based grading. An administrator dragged me and a few colleagues to a conference in hopes that our implementation of a different grading philosophy would make student report cards look better. While many of the ideas shared with us at the workshop fell somewhere between fad and wishful thinking, I began to think things like extra credit, and the meaning of a zero.

It’s always been my belief that when students learn genuinely and deeply, grades would follow. I think this might be more true in my own practice, because I began long ago to hand students a clear list of expectations (check the date on this one!) This is one good idea I took away from Harry Wong’s book, 1991 edition, handed to me by my first principal. Students dutifully memorized. Then I assessed those expectations, and most of the time, students met them.

How I assessed the expectations, though, changed a great deal over the years as I grew and as I changed school districts. Standards changed. My lists of objectives changed, and so has my delivery of those objectives, and my assessment of the learning that takes place as a result of those changes.

Because we don’t get enough planning time. We get a lot of sit-n-git, we leave a workshop or “training” or “PD” and do nothing, if anything at all, with our learning

Not today.

In this workshop, we will:

  1. Formulate our own working definitions of assessment, how it relates to learning, and why it is important to learning
  2. Examine various grading practices from an objective point of view
  3. Assess where we are with various practices
  4. Determine where we want to be
  5. Determine what steps and resources we need to take to get there
  6. Assess our progress
  7. Lay out a plan of action

Workshop Materials



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