Before You Give Letter Grades, Please Ask Your Students

20 Jan

A great post reminding us of something that is important to think about BEFORE we get to grading time… These conversations about success criteria are powerful ones to have during the learning process. Why do we feel we need to leave talking with kids about assessment until the end of the semester when it’s almost ‘too late’ for them to work on the things we are reporting on? Student-led formative assessment supports students in developing self-assessment skills as well as helping them to see purpose in their class work as they work towards goals that they have personally identified. I think my own blog post on this might need to happen in the not too distant future.

I have had a problem with letters grades for a few years now.  I used to write about it all of the time, and then stopped because I felt like all of the words had been written.  But now, I am back facing having to give letter grades for the semester as my district transitions from them to standards based grades.  All of those old thoughts of why letter grades say so little about a students knowledge, effort, and accomplishment have been hounding me throughout my days as the deadline for giving them nears.  But then I remembered; I need to ask the students what grades they should get.

It is rather simple process.  As a class we discuss what makes an “A?” What should a child be able to do in class and out of it to get that elusive top grade?  What does “A” thinking, writing, reading…

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