Opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent any other organization or affiliation I may have.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Report Cards and Assessment

This post  goes through some "sticky situations" that seem to focus on the USA system. Still, the question has to be asked, what should you do if you 're asked to change a grade?

This opens up a greater discussion, for me, about the ways we use assessment and if grades are even neccessary as the "most important reporting of assessment"

Having recenly done my year end report cards for my Grade 8s I know how the various assessment methods can be used.

I have a lot of students and sometimes parents, ask me throughout the year about why they got this grade or that. I enjoy those conversations. It shows interest and opens up discussions about overall learning, not just "the grade"

I often use rubrics for projects, clearly laid out clear criteria for my students. They always know exactly what I am looking for when marking and how they will be assessed. This helps minimize "surprises" and opens up conversations about their learning.

I had a student come and ask if they could do "extra projects" to increase their grade (a week before report cards) I had that "difficult conversation" about where they needed to work on improvements and it was not their ability to do extra projects. It was a very honest conversation and the student was thankful for the feedback. Their parent even contacted me to follow up and thank me for the specific feedback to improve.

I think it is important to have those coversations with students so the expectations are clear and they really know where they are at and why.

Of course if we moved away from letter grades, I wonder how that may change the whole process?

I recently read this post:
which is something I am very curious to explore further. Last year our district has job action and part of that was no report cards. Assessment still happened, communication with parents seemed to be even more frequent and overall I think the feedback was more productive than a letter on a piece of paper.
One of the parents of a student I taught a few years ago came back to me this year and told me they appreciated two years ago when I taught their son, emphasizing the work habits over the letter grade. They had, like many parents, always believed their son must get straight A's all the time (which he usually did) but what I pointed out, was that although she was getting very high letter grades, his work habits marks were S's and N's and that that was an area he could work on improving.
Report Cards are confusing, as a parent, reading report cards was always confusing. Of course you look right to the letter grade, the snapshot of your childs learning. But, the work habits, the words chosen inthe comments, those are important too! As a parent and as a teacher, I think ongoing assessment and communication with the student and teacher and parent is far more important than a piece of paper.
This reminds me of a post last year about giving ZERO on assignments... oh the discussions continue...

No comments:

Post a Comment