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Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading
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Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading



August 2008 | 136 pages | Corwin
As schools increasingly focus on standards-based educational requirements, many educators face significant issues about equitable grading policies for diverse student populations. This edited volume distinguishes critical concerns around standards-based grading from those less consequential and describes the research base for each issue as it relates to grading and reporting. Relating the research to implications for better practice, the contributors offer specific suggestions for improving grading policies and practices at the school and classroom levels. Their insightful essays offer practical responses for serious questions such as:

- Why is grading inconsistent across states and districts?

- Why do students' report card grades and classroom performance vary?

- How can teachers assign fair and accurate grades to students with special learning needs?

- How can educators assign fair and accurate grades to English Language Learners and effectively communicate the meaning of those grades to parents or guardians?

- What are the legal issues that influence grading and reporting policies in an era of high-stakes accountability?


Thomas R. Guskey
1. Introduction
The Difficulty of Change

 
Background and Format

 
Content Summary

 
Our Hope

 
References

 
Thomas R. Guskey
2. Grading Policies That Work Against Standards...and How to Fix Them
Policy #1: Grading "On the Curve"

 
Policy #2: Selecting the Class Valedictorian

 
Policy #3: Using Grades as a Form of Punishment

 
Policy #4: Using Zeros in Grading

 
Policy #5: Hodgepodge Grading

 
Summary

 
References

 
Lee Ann Jung
3. The Challenges of Grading and Reporting in Special Education: An Inclusive Grading Model
Why Does Special Education Grading Matter?

 
Grading Adaptations

 
Implications of Standards-Based Grading

 
Inclusive Grading Model

 
Step 1: Determine If Accomodations or Modifications Are Needed

 
Step 2: Establish Standards for Modified Areas

 
Step 3: Determine the Need for Additional Goals

 
Step 4: Apply Equivalent Grading Practices to Appropriate Standards

 
Step 5: Communicate the Meaning of the Grades

 
Summary

 
References

 
Shannon O. Sampson
4. Assigning Fair, Accurate, and Meaningful Grades to Students Who Are English Language Learners
Challenges of Grading Students Who Are English Language Learners

 
Special Considerations

 
Accommodations

 
Modifications

 
Current Research and Knowledge Base

 
Recommendations for Effective Communication

 
Implications for Educational Policy and Practice

 
Steps Toward Better Practice

 
Communication

 
Reflection

 
References

 
Jake McElligott, Susan Brookhart
5. Legal Issues of Grading in the Era of High-Stakes Accountability
Current Research and Knowledge Base

 
What Is a Grade and Who Assigns It?

 
Students and Legal Issues in Grading

 
Due Process and Equal Protection

 
Grade Reductions

 
Confidentiality

 
Teachers and Legal Issues in Grading

 
First Amendment

 
Liability

 
Implications for Policy and Practice

 
Confidentiality

 
Grade Penalties

 
Appeals Policies and Due Process

 
Educator Responsibilities

 
Recommendations for Improvement

 
References

 
Appendix

 
Megan Welsh, Jerry D'Agostino
6. Fostering Consistency Between Standards-Based Grades and Large-Scale Assessment Results
Description of the Problem

 
Overview of Standards-Based Grading in the District

 
Understanding Teachers' Assessment Styles

 
Assessing Most Standards

 
Grading on Achievement, Not Effort

 
Creating or Borrowing Assessments to Supplement Text-Provided Tests

 
Tracking Performance Skill-by-Skill

 
Focusing on Attainment of Standards Instead of the District Text

 
Grading With End-of-Unit Assessments

 
Other Grading Strategies

 
Focus on Overall Achievement

 
Frequency of Assessment for Grading Purposes

 
Multiple Assessment Approaches

 
Clear Grading Methods

 
Implications

 
Changes in Report Card Format

 
Organizing for Standards-Based Grading

 
Lack of Alignment Between District-Adopted Texts and State Standards

 
Skepticism From Parents and Teachers

 
Recommendations

 
Approaches to Organizing Grade Books

 
Using Diagnostic, Formative, and Summative Assessments

 
Separating Content Area Grades From Effort

 
Selecting a Method for Computing Grades

 
Differentiate Teaching to the Standards From Teaching to the Assessment

 
References

 
James H. McMillan
7. Synthesis of Issues and Implications
Current Grading Practices

 
Key Role of Teacher Judgment

 
The Fundamental Purpose of Standards-Based Grading

 
Validity of Standards-Based Grading

 
Fairness in Standards-Based Grading

 
Standards-Based Grading and Student Motivation

 
Student Standards-Based Self-Grading

 
Standards-Based Grading and Feedback

 
Where Do We Go From Here?

 
References

 
 
Index

"A very well-written, well-researched work with excellent documentation. It is obvious the contributors are experts and have the ability to communicate their expertise well."

Randy Cook, Chemistry and Physics Teacher
Tri County High School, Morley, MI

"The book combines research, critical issues, and creative solutions in a concise and easy-to-read manner. While there is little doubt that educators today face a myriad of critical issues, this book allows educators to believe that they can be agents of change for students and for the profession."

Sammie Novack, Vice Principal
Curran Middle School, Bakersfield, CA

"Anyone with authority and influence over student grading policies should read this book. Educators have to be courageous and confront the inherent problems of traditional grading practices that are not working and that are harmful to students. Doing so requires a proactive approach to problem solving, which this book exemplifies."

Paul Young, Science Department Coordinator
Penn Manor High School, Millersville, PA

Didn't meet the needs of our current students.

Mrs Sue James
Swansea School of Education, Swansea Metropolitan University
February 14, 2014

Good book and used as a reference at this time

Mr Jim Bagniewski
School Of Education, Viterbo University
January 4, 2010
Key features
  • The contributors rank among the best-known and most prominent educators and researchers in the area of standards-based grading and reporting
  • Describes the issues associated with grading, including grading ELL students and learners with special needs, inconsistencies in grading between schools and districts, and legal concerns related to grading
  • Each chapter describes the research around each problem and presents multiple perspectives about grading
  • Offers specific suggestions for improving grading policies and practices both at the school and classroom levels
  • Concludes with practical suggestions for addressing future grading concerns

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction


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