By Megan Budke and Karen Nickel
Can grading really reflect joy? Yes, and grading can contribute to a systemic change to address inequities. Grading for proficiency helps make grades equitable and aligned with what we say we value – even contributing to a system change to address inequities. With these three principles we overhauled our grading practices to provide a common framework so that every Languages and Cultures teacher in every language, at every level, offers equitable opportunities to every student. These principles work in face-to-face, hybrid and distance learning models.
- Align grade books with world readiness standards and proficiency outcomes to reflect what students know or can perform.
- Grading practices provide the opportunities for students to relearn and reassess the standards being measured. Growth should be reflected in a student’s grade.
- Track and report non-academic behavior without impacting a student’s grade.
ACTFL Standards, proficiency guidelines and Can Do statements guide our work. Scoring Integrated Performance Assessments on rubrics in the three modes of communication, we made grades transparent by reporting out on each skill. In this webinar we show examples of doing this in standards based grading and more traditional 100 point scale models. We also show how we transitioned from a traditional system to equal interval grading. See examples of our gradebook’s three summative categories each counting toward a third of a student’s grade and a zero percent category for risk-free practice, including homework.
Focusing on a growth mindset, where students have multiple attempts to show their increasing skills, feedback is given, not as points, but as placement on the rubric; in descriptions of students’ growing language skills. Using the same rubrics for each set of assessments, and replacing each set of scores with each subsequent assessment, grades reflect the most recent evidence of learning.
Reporting out behavior can easily sneak into a rubric or grade, but we do not use grades as a classroom management tool. Instead we report academic work separate from non-academic behavior.
Grading has become more joyful in the following ways. Grades are transparent to students, parents and administrators. Students are motivated to take risks, be curious and grow. Grades clearly show academic progress. Teachers collaborate to reach each and every student. We invite you to explore these grading principles in your own work.
Answers to a few questions that came up in the webinar chat:
- We consistently use all components of every rubric from Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment – Adair-Hauck, Glisan and Troyen, but novice levels have at times used only parts of the Interpretive rubric.
- We used the North Carolina World Languages Exit Proficiency Expectations to match hours of learning to anticipated proficiency levels.
- Using a 10 point scale with the rubric was a way that we transitioned from our old system to our new grading principles and system. We also did extensive learning about formative versus summative assessment, most recent evidence and equal interval grading.
- Formative assessment, in our 0% category included homework and other in class work that might help students build specific skills, but is not yet a complete representation of communication. Previous IPA scores also go into the 0% category as new IPA scores take their place in the summative, counted, categories.
- We use our last round of IPAs as the final, if our school asks us to give a final on the last day, we choose one mode to be taken by students on that day.
- If at the end of a grading period a student still has not met expectations, and after “last chance” opportunities, a student may be counseled to retake the course.
- If at the end of a grading period a student has not completed an IPA, we feel we do not have evidence to give a grade and assign a No Grade.
Watch Megan and Karen’s webinar Grading to Promote Proficiency here: