Discussion in 'General Education' started by JimG, Sep 27, 2018.

1. ### JimGCompanion

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Sep 27, 2018

What are some practices some of you all do to ensure your kids’ grades primarily reflect content knowledge or level of mastery?

I believe grades should reflect content knowledge. In most of my classes, homework is weighted at 10% of the grade, while the quiz and test weights, which better reflect content knowledge, make up the other 90%. If a student does poorly on a quiz or test, they may retake a similar one for credit, up to a set deadline. I believe these policies ensure the grade best reflects content knowledge while still complying with the ABCDF percent grading system.

Another teacher with whom I have worked graded everything on a scale of 1-4 (based on mastery of the standard). A lot of students didn’t like that because there was no wiggle room between a 75%C (3/4) and a 100%A (4/4). But he stuck with it (with guarded support from admin) and also had kids redo things that did not indicate mastery; the percent grades eventually balanced out in the end to what kids are more used to.

One consideration I am thinking for my AP Stats class is to give my students the free response portion of my test, grade each part of it based on a rubric of E (Essentially correct), P (Partually correct), and I (Incorrect) as I already do, but then give them back the next day with the scored rubrics so they can see where they did not meet the expectation and attempt to correct it.

What are some practices some of you all do to ensure your kids’ grades primarily reflect content knowledge or level of mastery?

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Sep 27, 2018

Our grades only reflect mastery. We grade on a four point scale, but can use plus and minus to indicate range. So my grade book would look something like this:

Standard One

4, 4-, 4+, 4, 4, 4 (Look for most consistent/ recent) = 4

Standard Two

3-, 3, 3, 3-, 4 (look for most consistent/ recent) = 3

Standard Three
4, 3, 3+, 4-, 4- (Look for most consistent/recent) = 4-

Overall Score = 4-
Convert to Percentage Grade = 81%

Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
4. ### futuremathsprofFanatic

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Sep 27, 2018

Wouldn’t it just be easier if your school used percentages, though, as you convert to percentages in the end anyway?

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Sep 27, 2018

No because when teachers use percentages they are inclined to average. We don't average. We use "most consistent most recent" and our professional judgment. Grading on a 4 point scale has completely changed everything about how we assess and how we educate students.

6. ### futuremathsprofFanatic

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Sep 27, 2018

I’m sorry, but I’m not following. What is the conversion between each of these? This seems highly subjective to me.

7. ### futuremathsprofFanatic

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Sep 27, 2018

You should give practice FRQ’s formatively and then grade them as you mentioned on the real test using the grading rubric that the AP evaluators use. I also have the students self-grade student responses as E, P, or I and then reveal to them what the actual grades were.

The FRQ section should account for 50% of the grade and the multiple choice should account for 50% of the grade, just like the actual AP test is.

This is what my recommendation is as someone who is an actual AP teacher with a 98% pass rate on the AP Stats test and what was recommended to me when I attended an AP Stats prep class by my instructor.

Last edited: Sep 27, 2018

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Sep 27, 2018

FMP it is a completely different way of grading, with associated training and guidelines from our Ministry of Education. It is subjective. So are all percentage grades (there is tons of research to support this) but it isn't random. I feel more comfortable with the accuracy of my grades this way than I did using traditional grading schemes.

We are grading on mastery. A kid's grade isn't based on the average over the semester. It's based on if they mastered the skill by the end of the semester (most consistent, most recent). It takes training and practice but I 100% believe in it and have been grading like this for over 10 years.

I have 0 interest in debating this. Jim asked for examples of how we do this. I'm providing one example for people who are interested in thinking about how to grade using standards based grading. I have 0 interest in debating/discussing its subjectivity or anything else with anyone who believes in traditional percentage grades, assigning 0s, etc.

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Sep 27, 2018

We also don't base grades on tests. We use a balance of observations, conversations and products. This allows us to see kids level of mastery quite clearly.

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Sep 27, 2018

For someone with 0 interest, I sure see a lot of debatin!!

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Sep 27, 2018

12. ### TamiJVirtuoso

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Sep 27, 2018

We are standards based. We look at a whole body of evidence to assess where students are. This means careful discussions as a grade level so we truly understand what their skills and abilities look like at each level.

Here is how we score:

4:Exceeding Expectations

The learner has demonstrated outstanding mastery of the grade-level knowledge and skills, applying them at a more sophisticated level, in more challenging tasks and/or transferring them to new situations.

3 Meeting Expectations

The learner has demonstrated mastery of the grade-level knowledge and skills, consistently applying them correctly in familiar tasks done independently.

2 Approaching Expectations

The learner has demonstrated a limited understanding of the grade-level knowledge and skills, inconsistently applying them correctly in familiar tasks done independently.

1 Not Meeting Expectations
The learner has not yet demonstrated understanding of the grade-level knowledge and skills, rarely able to or unable to apply them to familiar tasks done independently.

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13. ### Ima TeacherMaven

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Sep 28, 2018

I have categories. Classwork & Assessments & Completion

Completion doesn’t get figured into grades at all, but is just data for me to track how kids do with things like being prepared, turning things in on time, neatness, completing work when absent, etc. since those items CAN influence how students perform overall.

Classwork reflects grades on things students do during class with assistance from me and other students.

Assessments are graded on independent application of standards to new material. The scale is almost identical to TamiJ’s system, but with words, not numbers. Distinguished (4), Proficient (3), Apprentice (2), Novice (1)

14. ### JimGCompanion

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Sep 28, 2018

So it looks like a commonality so far is scoring based out of 4. Could you all elaborate on how you convert those to percentages?

I have a little experience with the base 4 grading using the E, P, I rubric I already outlined, but that is only for free-response questions on quizzes and tests. In the end, the 4’s just wind up being the point values, and the overall percentage correct is then calculated at the end.

4 = Complete Response
3 = Substancial Response
2 = Developing Response
1 = Minimal Response
0 < Minimal Response

If a two-part question, then an E is basically 2 points while a P is 1 point. So
4 = EE,
3 = EP,
2 = PP,
1 = PI,
0 = II.
If a three-part question,
4 = EEE,
3 = EEP,
2 = EEI, EPP, EPI, or PPP,
1 = EII or PPI,
0 = PII or III
If a four-part question, the scale for each letter in a two-part question is cut in half. I haven’t encountered or drafted any questions more than four parts.

Once I learned this system, it made grading a lot more clear and more reflective of how well the student’s work deomonstrsted the standard. However, I have not adopted this in my non-AP classes since I am not the lone teacher of Geometry or Algebra 2. I may suggest it for next year, though.

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Sep 28, 2018

Where I work we convert to percentages at the end of the semester (because the Province was willing to say we had to grade out of 4 but they weren't willing to take the political heat of putting these on the report cards). We use a conversion chart to convert to percentages. It helps that the chart is consistent across the district.

So, for example, if a student has a 4-, I can assign an 81 or an 86 to that student. A student with a 4 gets a 90 or a 93 and a student with a 4+ gets a 96-100 (we can choose any grade in that range).

For 3s, 2s, and 1s the ranges are:

70, 75, 78
60, 65, 68
50, 55, 58

For failing grades we use 20 or 40.

The rationale for the conversion chart is that teachers actually can't differentiate on a 100 point scale. When they have tested teachers ability to assign a 96 vs a 95 there is no consistency teacher to teacher (and in fact how I grade at 9 am is different from how I grade a 9 pm). What we can get pretty good at is differentiating on a 4 point scale and I find using +s and -s very effective for showing the range within (for example) a 3 which is "meeting expectations."

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Sep 28, 2018

I also don't grade in points that get added up. Instead, we grade on a rubric using a 4 point scale. I balance conversations, observations and products but if we were thinking about a product like a test, I would do this:

Questions related to standard one:

4-, 4, 4, 3+, 4-

Overall score for standard one: 4-

I would do that for each standard and say for the 4 standards my overall scores ended up being:

4-, 4-, 4-, 3+

My overall score would be 4-, which I would put in my markbook. At the end of the semester, I would determine the score out of 4 (using most consistent, most recent) and then that final score would be converted to a percentage.

17. ### futuremathsprofFanatic

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Sep 28, 2018

You know, you could probably make an Excel sheet that you could do all the converting for you. You would just have to define how the 4-point scale translates to percentages. Or do you already use software for this?

18. ### JimGCompanion

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Sep 29, 2018

Once you determine, say, a student is at a 3 level, how do you then distinguish whether it is 3, 3-, or 3+? The nice thing about a rubric with only three or four scoring categories is that it allows for me to be very objective. Introducing the + and - marks essentially turns four scoring categories into twelve, and I cannot imagine myself being able to objectively distinguish between them. What am I missing?

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Sep 29, 2018

Hi Jim,

When we started doing this, we did a lot of co-marking and there was a lot of dialogue. So I would say what you are missing is lived experience. That being said, if a 4 point scale works for you that's awesome.

I always find that within say "meeting expectations" there is a range. So I have some students who on a specific objective I feel are between a 2 and a 3 but closer to a 3 and some students who I feel are between a 3 and a 4 but closer to a 3. If I use just a 4 point scale then I have students who are a low 3 and a high 3 with the same grade. So you are right, we are really using a 12 point scale but I think of it more as 4 standards with a gradient.

This type of grading requires that we accept that our grading is subjective. We already know this as a system. There is lots of research that shows how everything from bias to how tired I am when I grade impacts my grading, so I know that if I use a 4 point scale, a 4 point scale with a gradient, a 12 point scale or a 100 point scale there is subjectivity. I feel with practice that my marks tell kids more (like proficient, exceed expectations, etc) on a 4 point scale (with a gradient) than they did with a 100 point scale and the focus of conversations with students is now around the standards not "points."

But when we started this we did have lots of conversations about what professional judgement means and getting comfortable with this as a grading model.

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Oct 1, 2018

I've been wondering the same thing lately. We grade with letter grades and percentages, but our admin is constantly talking to us about ensuring that grades reflect mastery of content. Our grading is 50% tests/projects/essays (all weighted at 100 points) and 50% daily work (each assignment is 100 points, but we can "weight" assignments at 1-5). We are required to have 2 grades in the gradebook weekly and 1 test every 3 weeks.

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