Thursday, December 29, 2011

Towards a Grading Policy that Better Supports Student Learning

Dear Staff, Students, and Parents,

After three years of great work on instruction and assessment at LCSS, and with the province of BC poised to move forward with Personalized Learning, it is time to start looking at school grading policies that support the kinds of practices we know improve student learning. Please take some time to review the following sample taken from St. Patricks Regional High School as a starting point for our future discussions. 

The policy sections you see below represent several years of dialogue at the school, and are well-grounded in the research of Ken O'Connor, Doug Reeves, and Mike Schmoeker. (St. Pat's Principal Johnny Bevacqua would also like to thank Saint Michael's University School in Victoria for sharing their policy.)

I look forward to resuming conversations with staff regarding this and other topics in earnest. In the meantime, it is important that all school stakeholders have adequate opportunity to reflect on any possible changes to our policies and have the opportunity to discuss them. Please be encouraged to contact Ms. Garner or me at the school if you have any questions.


Peter Jory
LCSS Principal 

Purpose of Assessment
Assessment serves a variety of purposes throughout the learning process from start to finish. Assessment practices should be employed in order to pre-assess, direct instruction, identify gaps in understanding and to guide further learning. Formative assessments, designed to guide the learning process will be offered in advance of major summative assessments. 

When determining grades, teachers need to account for the following:
a) Missed assessments: When a student misses a particular assignment or test, a mark of I (incomplete) will be assigned and an alternative plan devised to provide evidence of mastery (a mark of zero should not be recorded and averaged into the grade). If a student has missed a number of significant assessments, the teacher may be unable to accurately assess the student’s performance and should record a grade of I (insufficient evidence available) on the report.
b) Incongruent assessments: Where a significant disparity or anomaly in student performance over time is evident, a interventions by teacher need to be implemented to address the gap in understanding.  This will allow for another assessment to confirm the student’s mastery of the outcomes in question. 
c) Weighting performance over time: Teachers are to ensure that a student’s grade accurately reflects his/her best understanding of particular outcomes. Where a student has demonstrated significant improvement in terms of mastery of particular outcomes through the year, the more recent evidence should be emphasized in the determination of the grade. This eliminates the need to “average” marks in any calculation.

Work Habits
We expect that all students will put forth their best.  Work Habit skills will be reported on based on our work habits rubric.  When necessary, teachers should provide anecdotal comments regarding specific work habits. 

Attending class in a timely, regular fashion is the shared responsibility of the student and parents and an expectation of the school. Regular attendance demonstrates commitment to learning in a community and prepares students for higher learning and for life.  When frequent absences lead to an insufficient amount of assessment evidence, a mark of “I” will be assigned.

Late or incomplete student work
Late or incomplete work is often symptomatic of other, more serious issues for student learning.  Teachers should show compassion in trying to identify the root causes. In most cases, the consequence of not completing an assignment will be completing the assignment.   

The consequence for late assignments will not be applied using mark penalties. Lateness will be reported on in the anecdotal/behavioral section of the report and carry other behavioural consequences as outlined below.

When an assignment is late or incomplete, at the discretion of the teacher and/or administrator, a student will be held responsible to:
a) work with their teacher to create a timeline for completing the work and/or
b) come in for extra help and/or
c) work towards completing the assignment during their free time either before or after school or at lunch/recess and/or
d) design an alternative assessment piece which demonstrates their mastery of learning outcomes.

In the absence of sufficient evidence of the attainment of learning outcomes due to a number of missed assessments, a grade of I or incomplete will be reported until such time as sufficient evidence is made available by the student.

Plagiarism and academic dishonesty
Using content and values appropriate for the grade in question, teachers at all grade levels will seek out opportunities to inform students about plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty

Academic dishonesty and plagiarism will be treated as a behavioral issue.  In some instances the student’s mark will be impacted. When an incident has been discovered;
a) the student may be required to re-submit the work in question in order to demonstrate mastery of the skills and content.
b) the format and timing of the submission will be at the discretion of the teacher and will likely result in a loss of discretionary time privileges for the student.
c) Teachers will communicate the incident to parents and an member of the principal team

Students who are found to have committed academic dishonesty may also be subject to sanctions outlined in our school agenda.

No comments:

Post a Comment