In terms of our grading practices, we have frequently used the metaphor of taking an old pick-up truck and replacing the engine with an efficient, bio-diesel model. Until we are able to purchase a new slick ride, we must make work what we have, add and remove parts, and be flexible. Over the summer a number of Hazen teachers were able to sit down and work with Rick Wormeli, a nationally renowned teacher specializing in proficiency-based learning. In the video below, Wormeli talks about these challenges:
Last week at our faculty meeting, we presented to our teachers The Case Against the Zero by Douglas Reeves. After reading the article, our teachers participated in a 4 "A"s Text Protocol to reflect on this idea and their own practices. Here are some samples of responses we received in the exit ticket:
"Giving 0's is punitive and places students in a no win situation with their own learning. I like a minimum of 50% on all assignments and the punishment for not doing the assignment is that they NEED TO DO THE ASSIGNMENT!"
"In true proficiency based grading, should the types of assignments students typically neglect to turn in "count" at all toward a student's summative grade in a class?"
"I was impressed by the section that discussed the punishment for not doing the work would be to do the work. I think that the idea of having the student complete work during time that they would have relatively unscheduled is a fitting consequence for those reluctant students. I've had working lunch sessions in the past for students who needed to complete an assignment for a class."
"I think the article helped me understand why I like lower point numbers for my assignments. I had started my grading with total points and that's what felt natural for me, and now that we're using percentages, I'm sticking with it because I've heard students complain about assignments with larger numbers. More often it's about how much they are penalized when they do not complete something than how much they earn when they do complete it."As part of our 3-year implementation plan for Proficiency-based Learning, our supervisory union has outlined the initial step in separating grades for acquisition of content/skills and work habits. At Hazen, we have instituted a school-wide grading and reporting practice; beginning in 2015-2016, grades for each academic quarter must be calculated on a 60/20/20 basis, emphasizing standards based Essential Learning Outcomes:
60% - Summative Assessments: cumulative projects and/or exams that assess a student’s understanding of the Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) of a particular unit or learning cycle.
20% - Process: formative assessments, homework, practice working towards proficiency of ELOs.
20% - Academic Habits: participation, preparation, collaboration, perseverance, and adherence to the class’ social contract.