How I am Going Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School

My gradeless journey began 6 years ago after witnessing how easily grades can be manipulated by teachers. I will not go into depth here about how grades can be impacted by compliance and family situations; I believe that is common knowledge. I decided that if traditional grades do not help students learn, I was going to find a way to create a grading method that did.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts; as you do, please keep in mind although there have been many hours of research and collaboration, I do not consider myself an expert. I share my journey with the hope of expanding my PLN and reflecting on my progress.

I have 2 grading categories
Formative assessments – do not count toward reported grade
Summative assessment – comprise the entire reported grade

Formative assessments are varied in size and type but consistent in their frequency and intent. These assignments increase in length and complexity from warm-ups and exit slips to question sets as a unit progresses. All formative assessments are evaluated using a proficiency scale. A basic outline of the scale is below.

LP – limited proficiency, student is able to complete task with help
AP – approaching proficiency, student is able to complete task independently with
DP – demonstrates proficiency, student is able to complete the task independently and uses content vocabulary, or examples appropriately
EP – exceeds proficiency, student is able to complete the task independently using appropriate vocabulary and novel examples

Opportunities for students to independently demonstrate their knowledge are summative assessments; these counted toward the reported grade. Grades are reported as content goals rather than a list of assignments. For example, in biology class, the summative assessment for the cell unit is a poster. This poster is listed as “cell structure and function” in the gradebook. Summative assessments are evaluated using a single-point rubric.

Not yet Met Exceeds

STRUCTURE

Phospholipids are drawn and labeled polar/non-polar correctly
Glycoproteins drawn and labeled correctly
Transport proteins drawn and labeled correctly
Receptor proteins drawn and labeled correctly
Signal molecule drawn and labeled correctly
FUNCTION
Transport proteins role in active and passive transport
Example of diffusion
Example of active transport
Example of endocytosis and exocytosis

Students will get this rubric back with my feedback; their grade will be reported only after they have had the opportunity to reflect upon and address my feedback.

Aspects that I continue to work on:

  • reporting progress
  • self/peer assessment
  • assessing 3-dimensional learning
  • rebranding formative assessments as practice opportunities
  • timely feedback with large classes

Resources that contributed to my progress in this effort:

Hacking Assessment” by Starr Sackstein.

How to Grade for Learning by Using 15 Fixes for Broken Grades presentation by Ken O’Connor

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “How I am Going Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School

  1. Loved this, Bonnie.

    One of my favorite aspects of the Single Point Rubric is that when a student misses essential attributes to demonstrate the learning I can point it out and challenge him/her to be successful. It doesn’t seem as “final” or judgemental as a 4pt rubric. I also use it to challenge students who meet the criteria and give them ideas that can challenge them beyond.

    Good teachers establish a floor but shoot for the stars.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s