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Bo Adams

How Teachers Are Changing Grading Practices With an Eye on Equity | MindShift | KQED News - 0 views

  • experiences students have in each teacher’s class can be vastly different
    • Bo Adams
       
      I am so curious how the US faculty discussion of this article will go. This paragraph made me pause because I wonder if teachers actually care that much that their grading policies are different than another teacher's policies. Do they look at it from a student's perspective? Or from a learning coherence perspective?
  • Grades, then, become a behavior management tool, a motivational tool, and sometimes an indication of mastery too.
  • common practice of averaging grades
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  • retakes
  • extra credit
  • enter the best score
  • behavioral things
  • group work
  • 0-100 scale
  • “zero”
  • 0-4 scale,
Meghan Cureton

NAIS - One School's Approach to Equitable Grading - 1 views

  • a student’s grade could be more reflective of the teacher’s approach to grading than the student’s academic performance.
  • because many of the teachers’ grading practices rewarded or punished students for every assignment, activity, and behavior in the classroom, students often were less willing to take risks and make mistakes, and cared less about learning
  • But Previna didn’t blame the teachers. After all, none of them—herself included—had ever received any training or support with how to grade
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  • She started by sharing a few articles about the weaknesses of common grading practices with the entire middle school faculty
  • Then she invited all faculty to research, examine, and imagine ways to align grading to their vision for progressive and equitable education
  • first learned how many common grading practices were created during the Industrial Revolution and are based on century-old beliefs about teaching, learning, and human potential that have long since been debunked. By continuing to use these practices, we contradict our current understanding about effective teaching and learning
  • After studying the research about grading and learning about research-supported grading practices that are more accurate, more bias-resistant, and develop intrinsic motivation in students, the pilot group of middle school faculty members was excited to start using them. These more equitable practices included using alternatives to the 0–100 scale, not including behavior in the grade, ending extra credit, using rubrics, and developing a culture of retakes and redos
  • Students were less stressed, and classroom environments felt more relaxed and supportive of learning.
  • Grade inflation decreased
  • Grades are more accurate and less biased
  • Students’ motivation increased
  • Changes to grading practices leverage other aspects of programmatic reimagining
Meghan Cureton

NAIS - A Standards-Based Assessment Model Can Help Build More Diverse and Equitable Com... - 0 views

  • For students to take critical feedback constructively, they have to believe that it is possible for them to improve.
  • school’s assessment and feedback philosophy can encourage a sense of belonging as well as promote a culture that embraces all students as capable of growing and improving as thinkers, learners, and doers. To build on the authentic social justice work being done in our schools and to make real progress in our efforts to create inclusive and equitable communities, we must adopt and employ assessment practices that support this work.
  • The Intersection of SBA and Cultural Responsiveness
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  • Hammond argues that teachers are culturally responsive when we help students to be “active participants in tracking their own growth.”
  • Provide actionable feedback
  • Hope is a critical ingredient for positive relationships needed for culturally responsive teaching. SBA, with clearly communicated goals, actionable feedback, and opportunities for reassessment, helps teachers to be “merchants of hope in their role as allies in the learning partnership.”
  • We have chosen efficiency over efficacy; the education system decided to assess what is easy, not what matters. If we want our learners to have the intra- and interpersonal skills to navigate, negotiate, and solve relevant and pressing problems, we must teach, assess, and report on these skills.
  • Educators have the power to immediately change the way they assess to support a culturally responsive model.
Meghan Cureton

Do historians miss the ideals of assessment, as some have suggested? - 0 views

  • Grading Smarter, Not Harder
  • Their recent finding that many students don’t learn critical thinking in undergraduate history courses -- a challenge to history’s sales pitch that its graduates are finely tuned critical thinkers.
  • A panel of professors here urged a sizable crowd of colleagues to embrace not just grades but formative, ongoing assessment to gauge student learning or lack thereof in real(er) time.
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  • LASER, an acronym for Love history, Acquire and analyze information, Solve difficult problems, Envision new explanations, and Reveal what you know. Sourcing work, which Calder called a “threshold concept” in history, means asking students to evaluate the reliability of various historical texts. Who made it? When? Why? What value does it hold for historians, if any?
  • letter grades “do little to differentiate the level of student effort or the quality of student work or student growth over the course of a semester or program,”
  • to the idea of “transparency,” which they all agreed begins with articulating clear student learning goals -- for themselves and their classes.
  • Whatever the activity or assessment, Mintz said it needs to be aligned with a particular learning objective. Research suggests that the most effective activities and assessments when it comes to student learning are considered “authentic,” or those that mirror professional practice and address some meaningful question,
  • Project and performance-based assessments are much more likely to provide a “valid measure of student proficiencies and higher-order thinking skills than are multiple choice or short-answer questions,” Mintz continued. And evaluation needs to be based on a detailed rubric, he said, suggesting that students may help create these rubrics.
  • But “a paradigm shift is occurring in higher education,” Mintz said. “We all know this. We’re sifting from teaching to learning, shifting from a sink-or-swim mentality to a mentality where we have obligation to bring all students to minimum viable level of competency.” That is regardless of institution type, he said.
  • think of themselves as "learning architects" whose meaningful "forward-looking" assessment will be a "true learning opportunity" for students.
  •  
    HT @cmtbasecamp
Bo Adams

NAIS - One School's Conversation About Open Gradebook - 1 views

  • The critical difference is that at Harpeth Hall, and most likely any all-girls school, we know a student’s numeric average at any given moment will never provide the whole picture of her educational journey
  • At this time, we can find no research showing that open gradebooks have improved students’ grades or helped teachers know their students better.
  • The current system, while technically old-fashioned, preserves the teacher-student relationship and still allows students to have ownership.
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  • In order to address this confidence gap, we have identified several primary inhibitors we see in our students. Three of these five inhibitors could be exacerbated by an open gradebook.
Meghan Cureton

The Case Against Grades (##) - Alfie Kohn - 2 views

  • Collecting information doesn’t require tests, and sharing that information doesn’t require grades.  In fact, students would be a lot better off without either of these relics from a less enlightened age.
  • As I’ve reported elsewhere (Kohn, 1999a, 1999b, 1999c), when students from elementary school to college who are led to focus on grades are compared with those who aren’t, the results support three robust conclusions:
  • Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning.
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  • Grades create a preference for the easiest possible task.
  • Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking. 
  • For example, a grade-oriented environment is associated with increased levels of cheating (Anderman and Murdock, 2007), grades (whether or not accompanied by comments) promote a fear of failure even in high-achieving students (Pulfrey et al., 2011), and the elimination of grades (in favor of a pass/fail system) produces substantial benefits with no apparent disadvantages in medical school (White and Fantone, 2010).
  • Extrinsic motivation, which includes a desire to get better grades, is not only different from, but often undermines, intrinsic motivation, a desire to learn for its own sake (Kohn 1999a). 
  • Achievement:  Two educational psychologists pointed out that “an overemphasis on assessment can actually undermine the pursuit of excellence” (Maehr and Midgley, 1996, p. 7). 
  • There is certainly value in assessing the quality of learning and teaching, but that doesn’t mean it’s always necessary, or even possible, to measure those things — that is, to turn them into numbers.  Indeed, “measurable outcomes may be the least significant results of learning” (McNeil, 1986, p. xviii)
  • Once we’re compelled to focus only on what can be reduced to numbers, such as how many grammatical errors are present in a composition or how many mathematical algorithms have been committed to memory, thinking has been severely compromised.  And that is exactly what happens when we try to fit learning into a four- or five- or (heaven help us) 100-point scale.
  • Portfolios, for example, can be constructive if they replace grades rather than being used to yield them.  They offer a way to thoughtfully gather a variety of meaningful examples of learning for the students to review.  But what’s the point, “if instruction is dominated by worksheets so that every portfolio looks the same”? (Neill et al. 1995, p. 4).
  • It’s not enough to replace letters or numbers with labels (“exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” and so on).  If you’re sorting students into four or five piles, you’re still grading them.  Rubrics typically include numbers as well as labels, which is only one of several reasons they merit our skepticism (Wilson, 2006; Kohn, 2006).
  • It’s not enough to disseminate grades more efficiently — for example, by posting them on-line.  There is a growing technology, as the late Gerald Bracey once remarked, “that permits us to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn’t be doing at all” (quoted in Mathews, 2006).  In fact, posting grades on-line is a significant step backward because it enhances the salience of those grades and therefore their destructive effects on learning.
  • It’s not enough to add narrative reports.  “When comments and grades coexist, the comments are written to justify the grade” (Wilson, 2009, p. 60).  Teachers report that students, for their part, often just turn to the grade and ignore the comment, but “when there’s only a comment, they read it,”
  • It’s not enough to use “standards-based” grading.
  • Sometimes it’s only after grading has ended that we realize just how harmful it’s been.
  • To address one common fear, the graduates of grade-free high schools are indeed accepted by selective private colleges and large public universities — on the basis of narrative reports and detailed descriptions of the curriculum (as well as recommendations, essays, and interviews), which collectively offer a fuller picture of the applicant than does a grade-point average.  Moreover, these schools point out that their students are often more motivated and proficient learners, thus better prepared for college, than their counterparts at traditional schools who have been preoccupied with grades.
  • Even when administrators aren’t ready to abandon traditional report cards, individual teachers can help to rescue learning in their own classrooms with a two-pronged strategy to “neuter grades,” as one teacher described it.  First, they can stop putting letter or number grades on individual assignments and instead offer only qualitative feedback.
  • Second, although teachers may be required to submit a final grade, there’s no requirement for them to decide unilaterally what that grade will be.  Thus, students can be invited to participate in that process either as a negotiation (such that the teacher has the final say) or by simply permitting students to grade themselves.
  • Without grades, “I think my relationships with students are better,” Drier says.  “Their writing improves more quickly and the things they learn stay with them longer.
  • Drier’s final grades are based on students’ written self-assessments, which, in turn, are based on their review of items in their portfolios. 
  • A key element of authentic assessment for these and other teachers is the opportunity for students to help design the assessment and reflect on its purposes — individually and as a class. 
  • Grades don’t prepare children for the “real world” — unless one has in mind a world where interest in learning and quality of thinking are unimportant.  Nor are grades a necessary part of schooling, any more than paddling or taking extended dictation could be described that way.  Still, it takes courage to do right by kids in an era when the quantitative matters more than the qualitative, when meeting (someone else’s) standards counts for more than exploring ideas, and when anything “rigorous” is automatically assumed to be valuable.  We have to be willing to challenge the conventional wisdom, which in this case means asking not how to improve grades but how to jettison them once and for all.
  •  
    HT @tedwards
Jim Tiffin Jr

Will Letter Grades Survive? | Edutopia - 3 views

  •  
    I love this quote!: "The grading system right now is demoralizing and is designed to produce winners and losers," said Looney. "The purpose of education is not to sort kids-it's to grow kids. Teachers need to coach and mentor, but with grades, teachers turn into judges. I think we can show the unique abilities of kids without stratifying them."
Bo Adams

Inverse Relationship Between GPA and Innovative Orientation - 0 views

  • “I think academic environments are artificial environments.
  • People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment.
  • You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.
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  • the more experience Google has with hiring, the more inclined they are to hire people with no college at all
  • Increasingly, controlled research studies are also showing no correlation, or even an inverse correlation, between college GPA and innovative orientation or ability.
  • Ironically and tragically, rather than adapt our educational system to the needs of our modern times we have doubled down on the old system, so it is harder today than ever before for young people to retain and build upon their natural curiosity and creativity
Meghan Cureton

Why I Don't Grade | Jesse Stommel - 2 views

  • grades are the biggest and most insidious obstacle to education.
  • Agency, dialogue, self-actualization, and social justice are not possible in a hierarchical system that pits teachers against students and encourages competition by ranking students against one another.
  • Certainly, metacognition, and the ability to self-assess, must be developed, but I see it as one of the most important skills we can teach in any educational environment.
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  • You should consider this course a “busy-work-free zone.” If an assignment does not feel productive, we can find ways to modify, remix, or repurpose the instructions.
  • I find it strange that teachers and institutions would pre-determine outcomes before students even arrive upon the scene.
  • As educators, we have helped build (or are complicit in) a system that creates a great deal of pressure around grades. We shouldn't blame (or worse, degrade) students for the failures of that system.
  • Authentic feedback (and evaluation) means honoring subjectivity and requires that we show up as our full selves, both teachers and learners, to the work of education. Grades can't be “normed” if we recognize the complexity of learners and learning contexts. Bias can't be accounted for unless we acknowledge it.
  • Because I put myself outside of the grading loop, I can focus all my efforts on feedback and encouragement — on teaching, not grading.” Which leads me to wonder whether “graded participation” is actually an oxymoron. We can't participate authentically, can't dialogue, without first disrupting the power dynamics of grading.
  • “Research shows three reliable effects when students are graded: They tend to think less deeply, avoid taking risks, and lose interest in the learning itself.”
  • “There is an extreme mismatch between what we value and how we count.”
  • a mixture of things assessed and a mixture of kinds of assessment, because the work of being a doctor (or engineer, sociologist, teacher, etc.) is sufficiently complex that any one system of measurement or indicator of supposed mastery will necessarily fail.
  • “When the how’s of assessment preoccupy us, they tend to chase the why’s back into the shadows.” Grades are not something we should have ever allowed to be naturalized. Assessment should be, by its nature, an open question.
Bo Adams

Cathy N. Davidson "Now You See It: Why the Future of Higher Education Demands a Paradig... - 0 views

  •  
    History of grades and multiple choice tests
Bo Adams

12 Alternatives To Letter Grades In Education - 1 views

  •  
    HT @AKytle
Jim Tiffin Jr

When Grading Harms Student Learning | Edutopia - 0 views

  • Is grading the focus, or is learning the focus?
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Simple, straightforward reminder of what assessment is for.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      A simple, straightforward reminder of what assessment is for.
  • Zeros do not reflect student learning. They reflect compliance.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Exactly.
  • a deduction in points. Not only didn't this correct the behavior, but it also meant that behavioral issues were clouding the overall grade report. Instead of reflecting that students had learned, the grade served as an inaccurate reflection of the learning goal.
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  • Students should learn the responsibility of turning in work on time, but not at the cost of a grade that doesn't actually represent learning.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      I completely agree with this point. But admittedly, I still am not sure how it would work in practice... I totally realize that the grades we give as teachers are completely under the school's control - we can go back and change grades even after the course has ended if we need to. But at the core of my question is, "What is the leverage (if that is the right word) that we can use to help students learn that responsibility?" Sports and pulling privileges come to mind, but what else is there. I wonder what other teachers have used for this situation? 
  • Practice assignments and homework can be assessed, but they shouldn't be graded.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      An excellent distinction!
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      An excellent distinction!
  • Many of our assignments are "practice," assigned for students to build fluency and practice a content or skill. Students are often "coming to know" rather than truly knowing.
  • we should formatively assess our students and give everyone access to the "photo album" of learning rather than a single "snapshot."
  • Teaching and learning should take precedence over grading and entering grades into grade books. If educators are spending an inordinate amount of time grading rather than teaching and assessing students, then something needs to change.
  • We've all been in a situation where grading piles up, and so we put the class on a task to make time for grading.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Guilty :-(
  • Our work as educators is providing hope to our students. If I use zeros, points off for late work, and the like as tools for compliance, I don't create hope. Instead, I create fear of failure and anxiety in learning. If we truly want our classrooms to be places for hope, then our grading practices must align with that mission.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      +1!
Bo Adams

The Case Against Standards-Based Grading - And How to Respond to It | Solution Tree Blog - 0 views

  •  
    HT @eijunkie
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