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					Standards-based Grading at the
       Secondary Level


      Brent Morrison & Jeanine Butler
      AWSP/WASA Summer Conference
              June 28, 2010
            Sources for this workshop

 Transforming Classroom Grading, Marzano, 2000
 Classroom Assessment For Student Learning, Stiggins, etc 05
 Mindset, Carol Dweck, 2006
 Common Formative Assessment, Ainsworth & Viegut, 2006
 Classroom Assessment & Grading that Work, Marzano, 2006
 A Repair Kit for Grading, Ken O‘Connor, 2007
 Never Work Harder Than Your Students, Jackson, 2008
 Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-
  Based Grading, Thomas Guskey, 2009
 Advancing Formative Assessment in Every Classroom, Moss
  & Brookhart, 2009
 Formative Assessment & Standards-Based Grading,
  Marzano, 2010
             Essential Questions

How confident are you that the grades students get in
 your school are:

 Consistent? Teacher to teacher, year to year?
 Accurate? Represent actual student achievement?
 Meaningful? Communicate to all concerned the
  students‘ progress toward learning targets?
 Supportive of student learning? Motivational for
 Other questions you want to address?

1. Developing a clear and shared focus around grading:
           “What is the purpose of grading?”
2. Alignment to Standards: Bell curve to J-curve
           “Who deserves the highest grade?”
3. Using Scenarios to discuss & contemplate an
  effective grading system that supports learning
4. Frequent monitoring of learning & developing a
  collaborative culture
5. Safe Learning Environment: Mitigating the neural
  downshift & facilitating a growth ―mindset‖
           Where are you in this topic?

 As an individual educator?
 As a school?
 As a district system?

 Fist to 5 – Fist, it‘s all new to me to 5, we are
 implementing standards based grading in every
           1. Purposes for Grading

 Administrative
 Feedback
 Guidance
 Instructional Planning
 Motivation
 Other?
Complete the survey—What do you think?
                                                                  Teachers                     Administrators
     Results From
                                   Purpose of Grades         1     2          3     4     1      2          3    4
       Survey of                   Administrative           6%    37%        28%   29%   0%     5%      47%     48%
     Principals and                Feedback                 0%    2%         20%   78%   0%     3%      14%     83%

        Teachers                   Guidance                 25%   42%        21%   12%   4%     18%     48%     30%
                                   Instructional Planning   12%   34%        33%   21%   21%    29%     31%     19%
                                   Motivation               3%    17%        34%   46%   12%    28%     36%     24%

                                   Reference for Grading

                                   Norm-referencing                     7%                            12%
                                   Criterion-referencing               62%                            59%
                                   Referencing to                      31%                            29%
                                        Knowledge Gain
Based on responses from over 300
 teachers and 150 administrators
Source: “Transforming Classroom
Grading” by Robert Marzano         Basis for Grades          1     2          3     4     1      2          3    4
                                   Academic Achievement     0%    2%         9%    89%   0%     0%      6%      94%
                                   Effort                   17%   13%        32%   48%   18%    24%     29%     29%
                                   Behavior                 2%    34%        23%   22%   35%    28%     26%     11%
                                   Attendance               41%   30%        19%   10%   47%    36%     12%     5%
     Lessons and Questions from the Survey

Most teachers and administrators believe that
 feedback is the most important reason for giving

    If feedback is designed to improve student learning,
     when should it be provided?
    How should the feedback be used by students?
    When should summative assessments be given to
       What does the research say about

 Right or Wrong                   -3 %tile pts
 Tell the correct answer          8 %tile pts
 Student understands the          16 %tile pts
 Teacher gives full explanation   20 %tile pts
 Student reassessed until they    20 %tile pts
  get it correct
                      Feedback cont‘d

 “Feedback is a teacher’s response to student work
       with the intention of furthering learning”
                                                           Moss and Burkhart

Feedback should be:
• Timely
•Not too much or too little, and make at least one observation about
the strength of the work
•Written, oral or demonstrated as appropriate to the student and the
•Focused on the work and process the student used
•Descriptive and clear
•Specific and either criterion or self-referenced
•Positive and supportive in tone
      Lessons and Questions from the Survey

Most teachers and administrators believe that criterion
 referenced grading is the most appropriate

    Are students aware of the standards and criteria
     being used to assign them grades?
    Does this belief match current practice?
     Lessons and Questions from the Survey

Grades are seen by some teachers as extrinsic
  Are grades motivators for students who don’t do
  If one of the goals of a school is to develop
   “independent, self-directed, life-long learners”
   don’t students need to be intrinsically motivated?
   (students as assessment partners)
  How does this link up with brain research?
        The survey & our discussion……

 indicate that educators believe grading should be
  about academic achievement toward the standards;
 yet, our practices continue to use these ―other‖
  student behaviors in calculating grades.

                       WHY?
Lessons and Questions from the Survey

Other observations or
 questions from the
  2. Discussion Starters about Alignment to
         National & State Standards

What does alignment to National and State Standards
 mean for our grading practices?

Are we clear and consistent about our Standards; do
 we agree about what all students need to know and
 be able to do and what it looks like when they get

Given standards-based learning, who deserves the
 higher grade?
     One Key Concept of Standards-based
Who deserves the higher grade?

  Level of    Bob




A Pre/Post Reform Look at Data

         J Curve vs. Bell Curve
         New Role for Teachers

 Shift from ……..teaching to

 ….. Insuring that all students actually learn

 Do our grading practices reflect this new
  3. Using Scenarios to discuss an effective
   grading system that supports learning

                3 types of Scenarios:

A. Avoiding practices that distort achievement

B. Avoiding inappropriate grade calculations

C. Avoiding low-quality or poorly organized
Effective Grading Practices

A. Guidelines to Avoid
 Practices that Distort
                   Scenario #1

A teacher includes effort, participation, late work, and/
or attendance as part of the grading scheme.

Johnny scores very high on all of the tests.

Should his grade suffer because he does not participate
 in class or have regular attendance?
                  Scenario #2

One teacher does not accept late assignments and
 another reduces grades by 10% for each day the
 assignment is late. Should penalizing late work be
 part of the grading process?
                  Scenario #3

Johnny is caught cheating on his math test. He is
  suspended from school and a score of zero is
  recorded for that test.

If grades are to reflect student achievement toward the
  standards, what should be the consequence for this
Effective Grading Practices

B.Guidelines to Avoid
 Inappropriate Grade
                  Scenario #4
Johnny earns these grades on the unit tests
           91,91,91,91,91,91,91, 0, 91,91
The teacher averages these grades to
get 81.9 which is a ―B‖
  Another example:
      A student has two grades, 100 and 0. The
      average is 50, which is an ―F‖.
      Using letter grades, an ―A‖ and an ―F‖ average to
      a ―C‖
Should zeroes be used when an assessment is not
            Does a zero matter?
This table shows two identical levels of performance, the first two
columns using percents and the second two using GPA.
*Take note of the grades following the zero, and the final grade.
                  Unit Test % Cum. Avg % Unit Test GPA Cum. Ave GPA
        Unit 1            84%       84.0%          3.36         3.36
        Unit 2            89%       86.5%          3.56         3.46
        Unit 3             0%       57.7%             0         2.31
        Unit 4            72%       61.3%          2.88         2.45
        Unit 5            92%       67.4%          3.68         2.70
        Unit 6            76%       68.8%          3.04         2.75
        Unit 7            81%       70.6%          3.24         2.82
        Unit 8            78%       69.7%          3.12         2.86
        Unit 9            94%       74.0%          3.76         2.96
        Unit 10           82%       74.8%          3.28         2.99
        Final Letter grade        "C"                      "B-"
 Scenario #5: The BIG Question!

Should homework be
 included in the final
               Scenario #6

What do you think would happen in your
 school if all of the students in your class
 did an outstanding job, and all received
 an ‗A‘?
                           Scenario #7
Who deserves the higher grade?

  Level of    Bob




           Scenario #8

Sam receives his very first ―F‖
 on his 6th grade report card.

How does this impact Sam‘s
 attitude and effort?
               Scenario #8

What does the letter ―F‖ represent, and is
 it necessary for a grading system to use
 that letter?
              More on Scenario #8

 No studies support the use of low grades as
 punishments. Instead of prompting greater effort,
 low grades more often cause students to withdraw
 from learning‖ --Guskey and Bailey, 2001

 Alternative: A, B, C, I, NC
Effective Grading Practices

C.Guidelines to Avoid
Low-quality or Poorly
 Organized Evidence
                   Scenario #9

A unit assessment measures multiple learning targets.
  All of the point totals for each item are combined
  together into a single grade

A teacher uses the categories of quizzes, tests,
  homework, etc. in the gradebook

How should the gradebook be organized?
   Organize information by standards instead of
      assessment type or into a single grade.

 Organize by standards or learning goals

― The principal limitation of any grading system that requires the teacher to assign
   one number or letter to represent course learning is that one symbol can convey
   only one meaning…One symbol cannot do justice to the different degrees of
   learning a student acquires across all learning outcomes.‖
                                               --Tombari and Borich 1999
Grading Practices that motivate

D. Guidelines to
Support Learning
                Scenario #10

An assessment contains items that can earn multiple
 points. Johnny answers the questions and thinks
 that he has done very well. The grade he receives
 shows otherwise. Should students have knowledge of
 the scoring rubrics before an assessment?
    4. Frequent monitoring of learning &
      developing a collaborative culture

 Do we have a shared understanding of the
  importance of frequent progress monitoring?
 Do we have a shared vision for what frequent
  progress monitoring looks like?
 Do we do use a common progress monitoring system
  both horizontally (within a grade level or course)
  and vertically (across grade levels or departments)?
             Doctor‘s Visit
I see my doctor for an annual physical. They measure
 Height and weight
 Blood pressure and pulse
 Looks for signs of skin cancer
 Tests reflexes
 Blood and urine tests measure for other ominous
How meaningful would it be if when I left they gave me
  a note that says ―C‖? What information am I missing
  in order to improve my health?
5. Safe Learning Environment: Mitigating the neural
     downshift & facilitating a growth ―mindset‖

 What do we now know about the brain that informs
  our grading practices?
 How do we engage students as active assessment
  partners and provide intrinsic motivation for
  learning toward standards?
Carol Dweck, ―Mindset‖, 2006

  Fixed mindset vs. growth

What does the research tell us?
What does brain research tell us?

Neo Cortex


          Brain Stem
   Carol Dweck, ―Mindset‖, 2006

 Mindset determines self-image
 Mindset determine intellectual
 Mindset determines initiative
 Mindset can be changed with
  effective guidance & environment
Carol Dweck, ―Mindset‖, 2006

  ―When we (temporarily) put people
    in a fixed mind set, with its focus
    on permanent traits, they quickly
   fear challenge and devalue effort.‖

          (Dweck, 2006, pg. 10)
  Standards-based grading

    What would a
 grading system look
like in the classroom?
Concepts for a standards-based
       grading system
 Use Assessment For Learning strategies
 Grading categories are the topics defined by
  the standards, not type of assessments (20 or
  fewer per course)
 Include ―life skills‖(behavior, attendance,
  effort, etc), but score and report those
 Develop a scoring scale with examples of each
  level and work with students to insure that
  they fully understand how to reach each level
   Concepts for a standards-based
          grading system
 Develop a system that involves students tracking
  their own progress toward meeting standards
  (same for ―life skills‖) and self-reflection
 Focus on learning at the end of the grading period
 When an overall grade is required, average
  (possibly weight) the ―topic scores‖

           The primary purpose of classroom assessments is “to inform
           teaching and improve learning, not to sort and select students
           or to justify a grade”
                                                    (Jay McTighe)
      Assessment FOR Learning
                   Rick Stiggins

―We must assess accurately and use results
 effectively in order to make sure students react
 productively to the assessment results‖

Productive response to assessment results:
 I understand the results
 I know what to do next
 I‘m OK
 I choose to keep trying
Scoring Scales (example)

              •Use a pattern of
              •Note that a score of
              3.0 (proficient) is for
              items that have been
              explicitly taught
              •Each topic is assessed
              separately using this
Student View of Scoring Scale
Possible Gradebook
Translating from rubric scores to
          letter grades
Reporting learning skill topics
Develop a system for students to track their

  Students
   targets and
   where they are
   relative to
  Watch video of
   students tracking
   their learning
 Revisiting Motivation and Grading

 Students as partners in the assessment process
 Help students change their ―mindset‖ about fixed vs.
  flexible traits
 Students with flexible mindsets are more likely to
  take intellectual risks
  Summary, Reflection, What Next?

 What did you learn today that will be applicable to
  your teaching assignment?
 What additional support would you like to have?
 What are your next steps as a school?

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