This is the sixth post in a series of short YouTube videos by Rick Wormeli, author of the book Fair Isn’t Always Equal. This episode focuses on the power of frequent formative assessments and tying that into a standards based grading system. I wish I had learned about the power of formative assessments and a standards based approach to grading when I was teaching… Might you take what @RickWormeli has to offer and implement it in your classroom tomorrow??
The February 2014 Educational Leadership publication is focused on building school morale and offers several articles reflecting on how to cultivate positive spirits in a school staff. The timing is superb… I note on my calendar at the beginning of February every year to brace for the mid-year slump. While I’m convinced it has a good deal to do with the lack of daylight and cold weather here in northern MN, I also agree Megan and Bob Tschannen-Moran that “bolstering school morale is a primary school improvement strategy” (pg. 38). School leadership teams need to assess, plan for, implement action plans to address, and progress monitor the emotional pulse of the larger school team just as an effective coach of an athletic team or the director of musical must do. An emotionally flat team simply cannot perform well while one wrapped up in the positive synergy of real, results oriented school improvement can knock it out of the park.
So I’m asking some questions in #isd186… Do we count late work? How much is homework part of a grade? Do we average points out of points possible to determine a grade? Is it better if we categorize grades into assessments, homework, projects, etc…? At some point in a career every teacher struggles with the sacred cow – the GRADE BOOK… How do we record points – or better rather – how do we record the level at which a student has demonstrated mastery of a standard in order to communicate those results and use them for instructional planning?
These are thought-provoking questions and not ones that our college courses prepared us well for. So… Here are a few thoughts from respected expert @RickWormeli on grading:
So how do you calculate grades? Does your software get in the way? How can you work around that? Guskey says – if there is one thing he would get rid of it’s using averages. How will you get rid of averages in your grade calculations? How do you define what a grade actually is?
Sitting at a twelve team wrestling tournament today prompted me to dig out a post from several years ago about the assembly line system of education that has dominated our classrooms for the past 100+ years. Even with nine mats being used continuously and a remarkable effort to run an efficient and well-organized tournament, each student was engaged in competition for a total of 2 – 6 minutes in a 4 hour time frame. Spread around the gym was several hundred boys — 9 were engaged and the other 99% were bored silly. They were participating in a beautifully designed lesson for learning how to wait in line and deal with boredom.