Tuesday, August 28, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #43 Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading

Over the summer I went to Las Vegas for a JEA Advisers Institute. It was pretty awesome. Chris and I went a couple of days early and we played around and then when he left it was time for some learning.

One of the best sessions I attended was one about Systematic Grading presented by Sandra Coyer. If you are a teacher or know a teacher or read the news to learn about education you know that standards-based grading, common-core standards, holistic scoring, grading for learning, essential learning outcomes (ELOs), formative and summative assessments are just a few of the buzz words that have the education world in a tizzy. We're all (well save a few states, I hear) trying to move towards common-core as our common language and we're all trying to figure out how that will look in our classrooms. People seem to think that standards-based grading is the answer.

Hoping on this band-wagon is yours truly. I like that the ELOs that we've spent years, literally, perfecting become how and what we teach and we use this knowledge to grade our students, but I really didn't see how this would look in the classroom. Coyer's Prezi talks about several ideas that were swimming around in my head:

  • that holistic scoring and standard-grading focus learning and make the goals for everyone easier to attain
  • journalism classes are differentiated and prepare students for the 21st century better than most classes.

And, I wondered how that would look in my classroom.

There were so many thoughts and ideas and questions floating around that I had to find a way to focus. Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading is the perfect book for this.

Here's what his website says about the book

This comprehensive guide:
  • Identifies three types of formative classroom assessments that should be used in a comprehensive system and explains how to design them
  • Explains the difference between “standards-based” and “standards-referenced” systems
  • Explains why it is usually inappropriate to use the 100-point scale in conjunction with formative assessment
  • Describes a systematic approach to the design and use of rubrics
  • Presents four basic approaches to tracking student progress and provides reproducible grade sheets
  • Discusses the use of technology in tracking progress and generating reports
  • Addresses the issue of grades for teachers using formative approaches
  • Includes an appendix that clearly explains the concept of effect size
  • Provides exercises to help readers assess and reinforce their understanding of the new strategies

And, it has hand-outs that address all the mathy stuff! It's fantastic!

Here are the hand-outs we created for the students, and so far it's working like a dream!

Standards Based Grading Info
Standards Based Grading Scoring Guides

If you want more information about how we're doing standards-based grading in a school that does not feel free to email me for the details.

Links for more information:
21st Century Skills
Common Core Standards
Formative Assessments
Holistic Scoring
Standards-based Grading
Summative Assessments

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