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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wormeli on Gradebooks

This is the last post of this series.  There is more, if you want to see it search for Rick Wormeli on YouTube, but this one gets down to where the rubber meets the road.  Reporting grades in a standards based system.  There is also a good idea for handling summative and formative assessments that make a lot of sense.

Perhaps the biggest cultural shift in the standards based gradebook is not what you think it would be.  I think the biggest change we need to face is the lack of an average.  An average is a sports statistic, tells us the likelihood of the next free throw being successful, of the next hitter driving in that guy on second base, or compares this running back with all others.  As Wormeli proposes, it is not sufficient if we are standards based, to report one grade for a course.  Grades are not for ranking students, they are for reporting achievement, the mastery of a concept.

The typical report card with maybe 6-8 grades, one for each content area is now obsolete.    You can't reduce a students knowledge of the math standards to one number or letter in a grade book.  Instead we'll need to look at the preponderance of evidence for each standard, maybe the median or the mode, and decide if that is mastery.  Our grade books and report cards will look significantly different.

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