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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler Assessments- trying to do standards based in a traditional grade system

  • Assessments- trying to do standards based in a traditional grade system

    Posted by Robin Bergen on January 5, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Hi, I have a problem and I just don’t know how to manage it.  I really believe that when I put a grade on a test and hand it back to my students that the number is all they see.  If it’s a good number it validates that they can do math and if it’s a low number it validates that they can’t do math.  When they see the number they shut down either way and don’t look at the comments or suggestions.  They don’t even look what they have gotten wrong.  I want to remove the number and do a standards based approach with only comments and do a portfolio day every week where they can pick a standard that they are having difficulty with and work towards mastery.  A positive is that I have a very supportive administration and support my vision but I still need to give a grade at the end of the term.  I think I will have a lot of push back from parents as well as students.  We live in a grade based world and that is what they are used to.  We all know that change is difficult for everyone.  Can anyone help with suggestions?  I can’t see my way around this one.  I have changed everything in my classroom because of this site as well as Jo Boaler and everyone else I have been reading and listening to on the podcasts.  I spiral my curriculum now.  I have my students work on vertical non-permanent surfaces.  I try to spark curiosity with Dan Meyer tasks as well as others.  We notice and wonder all the time.  My groups are always 3 and always chosen randomly.  My homework is only review and never new material.  My assessment are comprised of half new material and half review material and I try to make connections all over the place.  I love it.  I think this is the last piece that I need to explore and of course the other pieces will be revamped again and again according to the group that is in front of me.  Help!  I don’t know how to do change to standards based grading when everyone in my school will be doing it in the traditional way.

    Bonnie Currie replied 2 years, 2 months ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Jon

    January 5, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Hey @Robinbergen

    You’re not alone here. This is a big concern for a lot of us. 

    I think being concerned of pushback is valid and should not be taken lightly. But, what I’ve found is that parents and kids may pushback if they feel that they are not supported or getting the feedback they need to feel safe and on track. So the idea is, how can we make students feel supported while pushing their learning forward? 

    They need clear next steps and they also need to feel that completing those next steps is worth it. 

    In my class I record the grade that a student received on a learning goal, but do not necessarily write it on their paper. I’ve noticed the same thing as you. Students will stop once they see the grade. I’ve been only writing grades that meet the expectations on their paper. If a student doesn’t meet the expectations they are to hand it back in with corrections. 

    Students & parents can see their progress on their learning goals at any time and they can choose to work towards improving that progress at any time. I think this openness to improving at anytime has allowed my students to feel supported while pushing their learning forward — > which for me has not resulted in any pushback. 

    You can learn more about how I track that progress here: 

    I’m working on the Assessment For Growth Mini Course and will include more specifics when more modules get released. 

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Jon Orr.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Jon Orr.

    Assessment For Growth

  • Bonnie Currie

    September 10, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    I came to the water cooler with this exact questions. I feel like I’ve got the other stuff working, like you, but assessing using standards (or expectations for me in Ontario) is the next layer that I want to tackle. Not really sure where to start.

    I’ve started Jon’s course and getting some starting points but looking forward to more of it.

    I’m not necessarily concerned about push-back but I want to make sure it is transparent, supportive and focused on growth instead of the marks.

    Robin, I’d be interested in hearing how you are starting this path and your thoughts about how to start.