Thursday, November 11, 2010

Progress so far with Standards Based Grading

So it's been awhile and I've been doing a lot lately.

I'm currently waiting on pins and needles for my TAKS re-testers scores to come in.  The Associate Principal and her secretary joked the other day about charging me each time I come in and ask if they've received any notice about the scores yet.  Luckily they decided not to do that.  But I was informed that the counselors will be bringing the students in one by one to let them know their TAKS scores.  Well, this is different than what I originally had been told and told the students so I'm working on a proposition for telling the students their scores.  More on that later.

Anyways, as far as SBG goes I feel like we have made HUGE head-way in our Geometry PLC and I made a huge jump forward with communicating to my students what their scores are and how they performed on a test.

Here's a break down of what we are currently doing.
Instead of in the gradebook having Tests/Assessments = 50%, Assignments/Homework = 25% and Quizzes = 25% we change the "categories" each grading period (6 weeks for us).  For example, this last 6 weeks in Geometry we covered Lines and Transversals, Linear Equations, Triangle Basics and Special Segments of Triangles.  (We were supposed to cover congruent triangles too but ran out of time).  So in the categories section of Gradespeed it shows up like this now.

I know what you're thinking.  Duh Sarah, that's the whole idea.  It helps the kids understand stuff better.  Get with the program.  The coolest part though was when one of the teachers printed out a sample progress report with the categories like this.  Check it out!!!!

It's no longer a mystery to the student or parent what the kid is struggling with!!!
It has been a little more difficult for some teachers since they tend to spiral multiple ideas and topics into one worksheet or assignment but I haven't struggled with that.  I do try to do a lot of spiraling in my assignments and assessments but I'm focusing on assessing or practicing one skill and I try my hardest not to let the deficits in the other skills impact their grade.  I also tend to not give students "Msg" for their assignments except in the class this student is in.  It's a Double Block (I see the students every day) class and they have literally NO HOMEWORK.  Since I see them so much and so many of them take accommodated or modified tests the curriculum is watered down a lot and I don't require them to go to the same level as my other students.  I actually have been trying to move to all of my students not have any out of class assignments but that's a whole nother issue.

As we move forward into the SBG abyss and try and figure out our way around I came across a huge stumbling block, and this was a big one, especially for me.  I don't know if you've noticed from my writings but I'm just a little ADD and I get side tracked easily.  You should see me trying to grade tests/assessments.  It used to be a joke of how easily I was distracted and forget what I was supposed to be doing.  Well, since I'm so easily distracted in our tests not all of the questions about identifying parallel and perpendicular lines are just in one section of the test I wasn't sure how I would track which questions my students were successful at and which areas they needed more help with.  So in my "how do I organize this super disorganized life" I came up with a system that my students now get their grades back on.

 So here is an example of students test and how I report their grades back to them.  I have found so far that grading this way and giving the students back their report sheets as well helps with two things; (1) some students that have never passed a math test before are or their scores are better than ever before (this has also resulted from a campus decision and I will explain this in a second), and (2) the students know exactly what they need to work on to prove to me that they understand the material.

I've given each student a half sheet of paper like the following and I have had it posted in my room since almost day one.  I think as a result the students are not so focused on point grabbing as they have in the past and they are truly enjoying learning and the activities I'm providing them.

I think it's helped make a huge difference and I'm really optimistic about the changes.  I just hope everyone else in my PLC and my campus is feeling the same way.

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