Determining Grades

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Determining Grades by Mind Map: Determining Grades

1. What is the purpose of a grading system?

1.1. For COMMUNICATING ACHIEVEMENT: Grades/reporting can provide parents and guardians with information about students’ progress and allow them to be involved in the educational process.

1.2. For SELF-EVALUATION: Grades/reporting give students information about the adequacy of their academic performance

1.3. They aide in IDENTIFYING individual/groups of students for alternative educational settings or specific educational paths…including:

1.3.1. High grades =typically required for entry into advanced classes or honors programs.

1.3.2. Low grades= often the first indicator of learning problems that can result in a student’s placement into a special needs program.

1.3.3. Grades/reporting= used as a criterion for admission to colleges and universities.

1.4. They provide INCENTIVES: Grades/reporting could provide an incentive to learn as well as determine the amount of effort that students put forth and how seriously students regard a learning task.


1.6. To provide EVIDENCE of a student’s… lack of effort… inability to accept responsibility for inappropriate behavior…documentation of unsuitable behaviors on the part of students.

2. Comparison of Two Types of Grading Systems: Conventional (Points-Based) Grading vs. Standards Based

2.1. Conventional Grading

2.1.1. Definition: points are allocated to individual assignments, and students earn them as they go.

2.1.2. Involves: inferring a student’s progress based solely on how many points the student has accumulated from the completion of individual assignments, or from attendance, which is sometimes scored alongside academic assignments.

2.1.3. Inherent Flaw: points-based grading is preoccupied with numbers, rather than communication. As the final grade is tabulated from gradebook figures, there is not a great sytem to determine the integrity/methods through which those figures are collected. This makes it difficult to determine whether or not the resulting final grades are accurate reflections of a student's true understanding of the material.

2.2. Standards Based

2.2.1. Definition: a grading system in which students are evaluated based on their proficiency in meeting a clearly-articulated set of course objectives.

2.2.2. Involves: A student's final grade is based on the total body of knowledge that the student gains as a result of the course, prioritizing student’s participation & formative assessments which involve critical thinking/writing. Teachers interacting more often and more closely with students and their work, engaging students in establishing goals and applying their work towards those goals. Teachers are encouraged to provide detailed and meaningful assessments of student material, which allows BOTH the student and the teacher to demystify learning objectives and to make critical connections. Could include an evaluation scale for student performance that would articulate developmental levels, such as "not using", "beginning", "developing", "applying", and "innovating,” and that, each level should be accompanied by a narrative description of the accompanying goal . Using this system, students may work toward clearly articulated objectives, and be evaluated based on criteria that they understand.

3. Activities that would be calculated in a quarterly or semester average:

3.1. Breakdown:

4. My preference: STANDARDS BASED. WHY?

4.1. As a teacher, I am better able to determine a student’s grade based on the single most important aspect of education: HOW WELL THE STUDENT COMPREHENDS THE CONTENT OF THE COURSE.

4.2. "An individual grade of 99 out of 100 points will almost certainly fail to reinforce overarching learning objectives as well as a written page of evaluative response, or a personal conference detailing what exactly the student did so well. Similarly, if a teacher hands a student a failing assignment, that student will not know where the need for improvement originates unless the teacher makes an effort to explain the grade, providing the student not only with a clear set of standards to meet, but a plan for meeting that set of standards." (Iamarino, 2014)

4.3. Standards-based grading provides the teacher with an opportunity to repurpose existing activities and assignments so that they better reinforce learning objectives.

5. Sources: Guskey, T. R. (2004, October). 0 Alternatives. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from Hillsboro School District: Iamarino, D. L. (2014). The Benefits of Standards-Based Grading: A Critical Evaluation of Modern Grading Practices. Current Issues in Education, 3.