Practical Solutions For Serious Problems In Standards-Based Grading

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As schools increasingly focus on standards-based educational requirements, many educators face significant issues about equitable grading policies for diverse student populations. This edited volume distinguishes critical concerns around standards-based grading from those less consequential and describes the research base for each issue as it relates to grading and reporting. Relating the research to implications for better practice, the contributors offer specific suggestions for improving grading policies and practices at the school and classroom levels. Their insightful essays offer practical responses for serious questions such as:

  • Why is grading inconsistent across states and districts?
  • Why do students' report card grades and classroom performance vary?
  • How can teachers assign fair and accurate grades to students with special learning needs?
  • How can educators assign fair and accurate grades to English Language Learners and effectively communicate the meaning of those grades to parents or guardians?
  • What are the legal issues that influence grading and reporting policies in an era of high-stakes accountability?
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Editorial Reviews

Randy Cook
"Avery well-written, well-researched work with excellent documentation. It is obvious thecontributors are experts and have the ability to communicate their expertise well."
Sammie Novack
"The book combines research, critical issues, and creative solutions in a concise and easy-to-read manner. While there is little doubt that educators today face a myriad of critical issues, this book allows educators to believe that they can be agents of change for students and for the profession."
Paul Young
"Anyone with authority and influence over student grading policies should read this book. Educators have to be courageous and confront the inherent problems of traditional grading practices that are not working and thatare harmful to students.Doing so requires a proactive approach to problem solving, which this book exemplifies."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412967259
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 8/6/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 138
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas R. Guskey, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he began his career in education as a middle school teacher, served as an administrator in Chicago Public Schools, and was the first Director of the Center for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning, a national educational research center. He is the author/editor of 18 books and over 200 articles published in prominent research journals as well as Educational Leadership, Kappan, and School Administrator. Dr. Guskey served on the Policy Research Team of the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future, on the Task Force to develop the National Standards for Staff Development, and recently was named a Fellow in the American Educational Research Association, which also honored him in 2006 for his outstanding contribution relating research to practice. His most recent books include Developing Standards-Based Report Cards (2010), Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading (Ed.) (2009), The Principal as Assessment Leader (Ed.) (2009), The Teacher as Assessment Leader (Ed.) (2009), and Benjamin S. Bloom: Portraits of an Educator (Ed.) (2006).

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction - Thomas R. Guskey
The Difficulty of Change
Background and Format
Content Summary
Our Hope
2. Grading Policies That Work Against Standards...and How to Fix Them - Thomas R. Guskey
Policy #1: Grading "On the Curve "
Policy #2: Selecting the Class Valedictorian
Policy #3: Using Grades as a Form of Punishment
Policy #4: Using Zeros in Grading
Policy #5: Hodgepodge Grading
3. The Challenges of Grading and Reporting in Special Education: An Inclusive Grading Model - Lee Ann Jung
Why Does Special Education Grading Matter?
Grading Adaptations
Implications of Standards-Based Grading
Inclusive Grading Model
Step 1: Determine If Accomodations or Modifications Are Needed
Step 2: Establish Standards for Modified Areas
Step 3: Determine the Need for Additional Goals
Step 4: Apply Equivalent Grading Practices to Appropriate Standards
Step 5: Communicate the Meaning of the Grades
4. Assigning Fair, Accurate, and Meaningful Grades to Students Who Are English Language Learners - Shannon O. Sampson
Challenges of Grading Students Who Are English Language Learners
Special Considerations
Current Research and Knowledge Base
Recommendations for Effective Communication
Implications for Educational Policy and Practice
Steps Toward Better Practice
5. Legal Issues of Grading in the Era of High-Stakes Accountability - Jake Mc Elligott, Susan Brookhart
Current Research and Knowledge Base
What Is a Grade and Who Assigns It?
Students and Legal Issues in Grading
Due Process and Equal Protection
Grade Reductions
Teachers and Legal Issues in Grading
First Amendment
Implications for Policy and Practice
Grade Penalties
Appeals Policies and Due Process
Educator Responsibilities
Recommendations for Improvement
6. Fostering Consistency Between Standards-Based Grades and Large-Scale Assessment Results - Megan Welsh, Jerry D'Agostino
Description of the Problem
Overview of Standards-Based Grading in the District
Understanding Teachers' Assessment Styles
Assessing Most Standards
Grading on Achievement, Not Effort
Creating or Borrowing Assessments to Supplement Text-Provided Tests
Tracking Performance Skill-by-Skill
Focusing on Attainment of Standards Instead of the District Text
Grading With End-of-Unit Assessments
Other Grading Strategies
Focus on Overall Achievement
Frequency of Assessment for Grading Purposes
Multiple Assessment Approaches
Clear Grading Methods
Changes in Report Card Format
Organizing for Standards-Based Grading
Lack of Alignment Between District-Adopted Texts and State Standards
Skepticism From Parents and Teachers
Approaches to Organizing Grade Books
Using Diagnostic, Formative, and Summative Assessments
Separating Content Area Grades From Effort
Selecting a Method for Computing Grades
Differentiate Teaching to the Standards From Teaching to the Assessment
7. Synthesis of Issues and Implications - James H. Mc Millan
Current Grading Practices
Key Role of Teacher Judgment
The Fundamental Purpose of Standards-Based Grading
Validity of Standards-Based Grading
Fairness in Standards-Based Grading
Standards-Based Grading and Student Motivation
Student Standards-Based Self-Grading
Standards-Based Grading and Feedback
Where Do We Go From Here?

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