Friday, October 29, 2010

Fair and Meaningful Grades for Exceptional Learners (#ascdfc)

Lee Ann Jung and Thomas R. Guskey
University of Kentucky
ASCD Fall 2010 Conference

Before we can apply grading practices to exceptional learners, we have to have a good, solid grading system in place for all learners.

Perplexing question as to fair grading of special population of learners in this age of standards-based one-size-fits-all learning.

Subjectivity in grading by teachers has always been a problem. Easily shows up in written compositions.

3 Reflection Questions:

1.  What are the major reasons we use report cards and assign grades to students' work?

2.  Ideally, what purposes should report cards or grades serve?

3.  What elements should teachers use in determining students' grades?

Guskey: Purposes of Grading

Most single reporting devices do not serve the above purposes equally well. Print the purpose of your report card at the top.

Many elements typically go into a student's grade, many of which have little to do with whether or not student has learned material.

Grading & reporting should always be done in reference to learning criteria. NEVER grade on a curve. It doesn't tell you if anyone has learned anything.

The word "valedictorian" has nothing to do with achievement; it means "farewell."

Grading Criteria:

1.  Product criteria - don't worry about how they get there; worry about what they can do when they get there.

2.  Process criteria - focuses on how they got there, not what they know when they get there.

3.  Progress criteria - improvement grading, value-added grading; how far have they come when they get there.

What about exceptional learners? (20% of learners are exceptional; 100% of teachers experience exceptional learners)

What's a fair grade for exceptional learner who doesn't master math standards but achieves IEP goals?

What current practices or policies exist in your school regarding the grading of exceptional learners?

90% of general education teachers make adaptations for exceptional learner grades having little to do with learning standards.  Why?:  Common myths that higher grades = higher motivation and adapted grades are seen as fair.  You can't "adapt" grades in standards-based reporting.

Exceptional learners usually receive adapted grades that ultimately lower motivation. 

Decide WHAT to measure in the beginning, instead of HOW to measure in the end.

Jung's Model for Grading Exceptional Learners

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