For much of her career, middle level teacher Stephanie Farley felt confounded when students “told me they didn’t understand where their grades came from.” Then her principal set her on a path of discovery that’s led to competency based learning and students eagerly self-grading.
If we expect students to achieve mastery, teaching consultant Rick Wormeli says, we must provide helpful feedback, document progress, and inform our instructional decisions with pertinent performance data. Yet many conventional grading practices render our data useless.
Some aspects of grading, such as whether to grade homework, are individual choices for a teacher. But never lose sight, says expert Barbara Blackburn, of seven essential practices that determine whether grading will be fair and meaningful – or ultimately pointless.
One hallmark of rigor in the classroom is an effective grading system, says PD consultant Barbara Blackburn. Teachers with ineffective practices often overvalue simple tasks and need to be clear about the “what, why and how” behind their grades. She analyzes a weak social studies grading rubric.