Saturday, August 5, 2017

SBG Updates- Grading

Following along with how I changed the way I write questions, I have made a couple changes to my grading system.

Change #1: Getting a 5
Before:"A 4 means pretty much perfect and the only way to get a 5 is to get two 4's."
When I started including a reach question on each assessment I started letting students get to a 5 right away. I did really like the previous system, but this is just how I'm doing it now and I do really like including more challenging questions. There typically aren't that many students that receive perfect scores so there is still a lot of reassessing that occurs. Also, the difference between a 4 and 5 is only five points (95 vs 100) so I do still feel like it's fair for all students that I'm including a question that might be beyond the reach of some students. I feel that the fact that there are always some students that get the harder questions means that I should be including them.

Change #2: The point system
This one is a seemingly minor change, but had pretty big implications. I use a five point scale where 3 is considered basic proficiency. My school uses a traditional gradebook system so I need to translate the scores into what I call gradebook grades. This is explained fully here. All I changed was the grade translation on a 2. Before it was a 65 which was the lowest passing score. I didn't like that it felt like students could still obtain a passing grade without being proficient so I changed it to a 60. This was a new change for this past school year and especially first marking period it meant that at the halfway marking period point I had way more students with failing grades than before. This was not particularly popular, but ultimately it made the students work harder and learn more than then had before with I do feel good about. I plan to keep this up this year.

Change #2a: Another point system (not mine)

Another idea on the point system is the way that a colleague is doing it. He also was concerned with grade inflation of students that are not yet proficient. The first time around, everything below a 3 receives a gradebook score of 0. It's a bit of a shock for kids who are used to getting credit (and sometimes passing a course) just for trying but it's an excellent way of assuring that anyone not proficient will give it another shot. If they try again and are still not proficient then they receive the 50. 

Change #3: "Buying" notebook use
This one I've played with in prior years but never settled on a policy I really liked until now. I teach special education resource math. The students are absolutely capable of more than most people think which is why I maintain higher standards for them than most. Ultimately though, some do need more accommodations than others. In the past I would allow some of my more struggling periods the use of their notebooks during assessments. None of my questions are ever information that they could just look up and copy so they are really just using them for support on the processes. I was always hesitant on this though because in all my classes there was always a kid or two that could do the work without the support and I would prefer to push them.

What I started this year was letting students "buy" the use of their notebook for 5 quiz points. The idea is that they can sacrifice the five points if it will help them pass, but there will not be any way to get a perfect score with support. I now print each skill on a separate sheet of paper and don't staple them so if they want to use their notebooks they can do so only where they really need it. They first do all that they can do without their notebook, hand those in, and then can use their notebook on the rest. I have a little stamp that I stamp pages with that they had the assistance on. I like it because it allows for different levels of accommodation in the same classroom without me having to be the one that makes the distinction of who is and isn't allowed (which I would never do). I know this one may not be a great option for everyone since the kids won't have this support on standardized assessments, but it's what works for me.

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