80% product, 20% process
Almost the entire grade will be based on specific content knowledge, but I'm reserving 20% for other stuff. I still want to check homework. I want Habits of Mind to matter. A kid could get a B if they slept through all my classes and did no homework, but still demonstrated that they understood all of the material. But, to get an A you have to do something more- work well in groups, reflect on the learning process, put in effort on assignments that aren't going to be collected.
Of the 80% product, I think that it will be broken into 50% tests/quizzes and 30% investigations. Tests and quizzes will show me what students know about each standard individually. Investigations will demonstrate ability to bring multiple standards together, apply knowledge and think creatively.
We are going with a 4-3-2-0 scale, the names of each category match the state test.
4 Advanced: comprehensive and in-depth understanding
3 Proficient: solid understanding with small errors that are not essential to the standard
2 Needs Improvement: partial understanding, only solve simplest problems, errors that are essential to the standard
0 Warning: minimal understanding of subject matter or did not attempt
I'm going to put them into the gradebook as numbers out of 4, without playing with scaling at all. My reasoning is that students can retake any assessment they want, as many times as they want. I know there's some controversy over using 0's, but I use them as a motivational tool- students come after school when I distribute progress reports with low grades. Ideally I'll catch those kids early, but sometimes it's what lights a fire under them and I'll take it. Plus, I have no evidence that they do understand the topic, all they have to do to change that 0 is provide the evidence.
This is the description I'm planning to distribute to the students:
Every unit or chapter we study will be broken down into a few standards. Each standard will address a small, specific topic. Standards will be assessed twice: once on a daily quiz and once on a test. Tests will cover several standards, but you will receive a separate grade for each standard rather than one grade for the whole test. Any assessment can be retaken for a higher grade. To prove that you are ready for a second chance you will have to provide evidence that you have studied and learned the material (evidence may include corrections, additional problems or re-worked examples). The goal is for your final grade at the end of each quarter to reflect what you understand at that point in time, so take advantage of the opportunity to prove to your teacher what you know.
I will replace old grades with new ones from reassessments throughout the quarter. Quizzes will tend to have more concrete questions, while tests will have some higher level problems. I think those grades will be separate for my sanity, although it might make sense to replace the quiz grade with the test grade for that standard if that grade is higher. It will really come down to whether I want to spend more time giving reassessments or more time scouring the gradebook and adjusting grades. I should come back to this question after first quarter when I've tried out whichever one I choose, but in the meantime I'd appreciate feedback on what method you use. I will only change grades from previous quarters in very special circumstances, as per school policy.
To reassess students will sign up on my calendar (that link won't actually work until midnight, I'm such a tease!), and list the standard they want to re-take so that I can prepare the problems ahead of time. They will have to show me their evidence of practice before I will give them the reassessment.
To record their progress students will fill out this sheet as they get back each assessment. The idea for the bar graphs is stolen from druinok and I love that they can shade in more boxes if they improve their score, it's so neat! (Both tidy and nifty.)
What else should I be considering as I implement this system?