The Grading System
Tuesday, June 26, 2001
Facilitator: Cynthia Wilson
Recorder: Maria Guevara-Lee
Issues and Solutions
Observations and Questions:
· What does a grade reflect?
· There is an assumption that there is something wrong with current grading system.
· Does a grade reflect application of knowledge?
· Different answers and several generalizations arise.
· Instructors are responsible for issuing of grades.
· Forms of measurement exist throughout our society and with good reason.
· Within education we think of responsibility of instructor as well as the responsibility of the institution.
· Some disagreement over Dressel’s quote regarding grading.
· An element of unfairness linked to grading is also found in society; in private industry, a relationship exists between grading and accountability.
· Grading allows for broad generalizations but fails to demonstrate how much actual learning takes place.
· If in one class, a student earns a C but learned much more than in another class where the student earned an easy A, the question may become, which should be measured: growth or mastery?
· How do grading systems enhance student learning?
· We, as educators, may not be the most appropriate source to drive change, since many of us have been products of good grades.
· Very little time is spent in teacher training programs addressing grading issues, although much of instructors’ time is spent grading papers.
· Grades are additive. A student starts with zero points in a class and points are added as work is measured. This conflicts with students who assume they started with 100 points, and instructor has deducted points.
· Grades also measure instructors’ performance, not just students’ performance.
· Learning Outcomes must be identified.
· Create systems where students learn from the process.
· Teach self-evaluation and the ability to negotiate.
· Offer professional development in grading.
· Develop learning contracts in which method and outcome are connected and the student participates in creating his or her learning plan.
· Provide positive reinforcement.
· Shift control from the instructor initially to the student ultimately in control of his or her own learning.
· Create no time boundaries (semester/quarters) by which learning must occur.
· Monitor pre-placement and ensure appropriate placement into courses.
· Introduce the idea that grades are additive in nature.
· Foster the idea that students are allowing themselves to be evaluated and, therefore, they pick their evaluators.
· Assess and intervene.
· Publish established standards.
· Report progress only.
· Add to grade depending on level of competency.
· Transcripts equal accomplishments, not just grades (e-portfolio?). To demonstrate caliber of student work, provide evidence beyond the grade.
· Require multiple measures and multiple evaluators.
· Offer opportunity for open entry/open exit courses in which students are paying for the evaluation of their work rather than a seat in class.
· The portfolio becomes the validation to employer and/or university.
· Make degree graduation requirements relevant.
· Understand that some things are not measurable in quantitative terms (e.g., work ethic, professionalism, ancillary learning).
· Perform needs assessment up front.
· Support services for areas where their learning is weak so that adopt new learning strategies.
· Expect imperfection as none of us are perfect.
· Celebrate learning first.
§ Foster the idea that student and college are partners in learning.
§ Incorporate learning skills in the classroom.
§ Utilize forward thinking; think of course outcomes.
§ Provide a knowledge connection, illustrating how courses relate to one another; this can be done especially well within learning communities.
§ Mentor student growth in real time.
§ Link knowledge to multiple measures.
§ Cite expectations of course clearly.
§ Demonstrate value (e.g., in team interaction when assignments and projects call for it).
· Create an environment for learning: Learning Assessment System replaces Grading System.
§ Review needs assessment of the institution.
§ Review classroom assessment.
§ Clarify expectations and benchmarks.
§ Practice goal setting.
§ Examine content and integrate support services into classroom environment.
§ Provide for peer evaluation.
§ Provide for continued evaluation of our own evaluation tools.