From the Desk of Shawn Tegethoff

From the Desk of Shawn Tegethoff
From the Desk of Shawn Tegethoff

From the Desk of Shawn Tegethoff - Principal
Understanding the grading process can feel a lot like flying into the Bermuda Triangle.  It can seem convoluted and foggy!  And, one can easily get lost in the confusion!

 Usually, a grade represents an achievement and/or improvement of a standard.  When children are provided feedback, feedback is fair, accurate and effective. 

 There is a problem with traditional grading.  It doesn’t allow for differentiation.  The most common grading errors in traditional grading is the use of zeroes, the use of averages, the use as punishment and rewards, and the use of weighting.  Can you see the problems created for a child’s learning and a teacher’s feedback in traditional grading systems?  In the light of research and common sense, we can no longer use traditional A, B, C, D, and F as grades for elementary children.  Often, the grade has nothing to do with the child’s understanding of the material.  It’s simply an ineffective way to provide feedback. 

 “The consequence for a student who fails to do the work should not be a low grade, but rather an opportunity –indeed, the requirement- to resubmit the work.” Reeves (2006)

To use standards based grading, the targets (standards) must be based on proficiency, must be measurable and must be a gradation.

 Once teacher professional learning communities set good learning targets, the goal isn’t the grade.  The goal becomes instruction and feedback.  The grade must represent the student learning, not points. 

 So, how do teachers calculate grades?  The mode and professional judgment.  Ask yourself, “Has my child mastered this standard?  Are they close to mastery?  Or, is my child so lost that intervention is necessary for them to learn this standard?” 

 A common misunderstanding by parents can be: Standards based grades equate to traditional grades.  Remember, mastery doesn’t equate to an A.  Near grade level does not equate to a C.  We have a long way to go to unify the grading system from pre-K through post-grad! 

 “It’s not the scores that change behavior, but rather the conversation around evidence that changes behavior.”  Bill and Melinda Gates

 At Roosevelt, we hope that our grading system makes sense to you as the parent.  If it doesn’t, please ask questions when you are with your child’s teacher.  We want you to clearly understand if your child is mastering the essential standards.