I went to a professional development session on standards-based grading the other day, and here are the main ideas.
Formative assessments (practices) should not be factored into grades. This menas homework and classwork is not graded.
Only summative assessments should be recorded into grades. Only course requirements and final assessments should be used to assess student achievement.
Citizenship should be a separate score. Cheating, tardies, and absences should not be a part of the final grade.
Grades should only reflect student achievement. This means that only final assessments should be recorded for final grades. If a student needs five chances to pass or meet standard on a skill, only the final attempt counts as part of the grade.
High school is not college. High school teachers should not succumb to the pressures of colleges when determining grades. Our kids are not adults and should not be treated as such. We are a different entity entirely.
Zeroes are not mathematically just. When looking at mathematical formulas, a zero (on a 100 point scale) is an overwhelmingly unfair measure. Zeroes should be counted as 50% when considering grades. Using a GPA scale this makes sense because each grade is a factor of 1 (4 = A, 3 = B, 2 = C, 1 = D, and 0 = F). On a 100 point scale the F range is 60 points versus the 10% each other grade receives.
Cheating means a student gets another chance with a non-academic consequence. If grades are to reflect achievement only, then consequences for cheating cannot impact the grade. Students who cheat should receive an alternate assignment and a non-academic punishment.
No one fails a class; students can receive an A, B, C, D, or NC (no credit). The psychological effects of an F can overpower what an F should represent. Students cannot separate their self-worth from their products, so they equate the two; if a student receives an F on an assignment, he/she feels like a failure even if that is not the case.
I don’t agree 100% with each of the preceding suppositions, but I understand the thinking behind each of the aforementioned ideas.
I always feel, as an English teacher, that I have to teach to the state standards, but I also have to teach the unwritten curriculum: cultural literacy. There is little way to measure how well a student acquires the cultural literacy of my discipline. I just know that the experiences I provide are invaluable but not always measurable. Thus, I have a bit of a hybrid system, and I’m ok with my system.
How do you feel about the positions listed above?