My Principal asked me to share my practices around grading at our Staff Development day on Friday March 14. The focus of the day was on assessment and grading. As a district we will be making the shift to Proficiency-Based Grading. It is mandated by the State of Maine that students graduating in 2018 will need to have a proficiency-based diploma. My grading philosophy has been heavily influenced by standards-based practices. Over the last several years I’ve experienced tremendous mental dissonance as my classroom practice has not jives with my philosophy.
This year I made a some progress in reconciling that dissonance. I was inspired by Frank Noschese’s post The Spirit of SBG last June. In my Human Anatomy & Physiology course I’ve started organizing my units around 2-4 major learning objectives. I quiz my students on one learning objective at a time. I’ve developed a system for students requesting retakes using a Google Form and a script within the Google Spreadsheet to email me every time there is a new response. In the last couple years I’ve started writing my tests a that all the questions about the same learning objective are grouped together, rather than grouping by question type (multiple choice, matching, labeling, short answer, and essay). I also report out sub-scores by learning objective. Eventually I’d like to make the quizzes purely formative, but I’m not there yet.
I received positive feedback and thank you’d from my colleagues. I think the next few years are going to generate great dialogue around the school because I work with a fantastic group of educators. I would like to see my school reinstitute cross subject area professional learning groups with distinct purpose if discussing assessment and grading. It was beneficial to talk with my colleagues from other content areas in previous. Over the last five years, the previous principal slowly cut the numbers of these meeting during our Wednesday morning professional development time from one meeting monthly to 0. My slideshow is embedded below.