Grading for Learning

PHILOSOPHY The Fall River School District believes that grading for learning provides the foundation for delivering accurate, meaningful and consistent grades that support mastery level of learning.  All administrators and teachers will implement these principles with fidelity to establish district level practices and procedures related to grading. GRADING FOR LEARNING PRINCIPLES 

  • The mastery of defined learning targets instead of the accumulation of points
  • The reporting of student achievement toward meeting learning targets at a given time by reflecting on mounting evidence based on various forms of assessments
  • A record keeping system that provides teachers with information that allows them to adjust learning practices to meet the needs of students
  • A system that encourages student reflection and responsibility
  • The student’s grade more accurately represents the progress toward mastery of standards
  • Subject areas are subdivided into big ideas related to standards along with their respective learning targets
  • The improvement of student achievement of standards and learning targets in all content areas
  • The influence of positive and consistent work habits on student learning is reported separately from academics  

PURPOSE & BELIEF The purpose of grading in the Fall River School District is to communicate learning, growth, and achievement of our students in a consistent, practical and timely manner.  In grading students, we will make informed instructional decisions to plan high quality, meaningful instruction for all students.

It is our belief that providing clear grading practices and procedures will lead to unbiased evaluation of student learning, growth, and achievement. The grades given reflect evidence of a student’s current level of academic performance in relation to specific standards. Grading practices will be clearly defined and communicated to all stakeholders.


GUIDELINES

Guidelines for Improving Accuracy:

  • Separate non-academic factors from grading
  • Eliminate the use of extra credit, behavior, attendance, participation, and other factors which misrepresent student performance in relation to the standards
  • Record grades which solely reflect individual student performance
  • Prioritize evidence trends of student learning
  • Avoid use of formative assessment evidence for grading

Guidelines for Making Grades More Meaningful:

  • Include specific feedback in relation to behaviors and non-academic skills (21st Century)
  • Provide feedback to students and parents in a timely manner
  • Organize grade books and report cards to a standards-based format 
  • Provide a proficiency scale in advance- scale should be aligned to the standard

Guidelines for Improving Consistency:

  • Adopt and align practices to K-12 district-wide grading principles
  • Clearly define and communicate expectations in relation to the standards
  • Utilize descriptive proficiency scale

Guidelines that are Supportive of Learning:

  • Provide opportunities for students to improve their work and/or performance
  • Recognize new evidence of learning and discard old evidence
  • Eliminate punitive grading practices (penalties for late work)
  • Provide formative feedback and summative evaluation directly related to the standard
  • Refrain from grading students in comparison to one another

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH

The following resources will give stakeholders insight on the years of research on best practices when grading for learning. Read the following to learn more. 

How to Grade for Learning Ken O’Connor

A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades Ken O’Connor

Developing Standards-Based Report Cards Thomas Guskey & Jane Bailey

Answers to Essential Questions about Standards, Assessments, Grading & Reporting Thomas Guskey & Lee Ann Jung

How to Create & Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment Susan Brookhart

Understanding by Design Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe

Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today’s Lessons Connie Moss & Susan Brookhart

Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing it Right; Doing it Well Jan Chappius, Rick Stiggins, Steve Chappius & Judith Arter

Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement Richard DuFour & Robert Eaker

Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, & Robert Eaker
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