Thursday, November 05, 2009

Making the Grade

Our school district is trying out a new elementary school report card. I wrote about it last year when it was in early stages. We've tried it for our first quarter and so far I'm quite impressed. They have made changes from last year and the thinking skills are no longer on the report card. In spite of that, I'm excited about the possibilities.

Dean Shareski recently tweeted about his district's grading policies. These dos and don'ts are very impressive. Like our new report card, these guidelines require us to think about grades in a new way.

These guidelines suggest that teachers should ensure that grades reflect the learning rather than the attitude, effort, or timeliness of assignments. For some time now it has been accepted that these things as well as homework and practice should impact grades. As a result, grades have not typically been a clear reflection of a child's learning. It's exciting to see different districts challenging traditional grading practices.

I know many teachers, including plenty at my school, are struggling with these new ideas of grading. I wonder how isolated these innovations are or if districts across the country (and in other countries, like Shareski's district) are pushing these boundaries as well.

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