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.
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.
|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|
|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
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.
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