A Reader Asks… (Grading Policy)

A reader asks,

“What do you think of schools that have to agree on all the same grades? Example…we have to agree as a 1st grade team on what grades to take in math and reading. What is your opinion on that?”

SC Response

This is a loaded question. It depends on the context. Let me explain.

The contextual question is, “who is the policy designed to benefit?”

For example, a big problem that almost every campus faces is that an “A” in Ms. Jones’ math class, is a “B” in Ms. Smith’s math class. Policies that are designed to make grading expectations consistent are worth implementing. Deciding in advance what assignments will be graded; what the weight of the grades will be; and what the grading rubric will consist of; is a recognized, yet historically under-utilized, best practice. And in all my experience, I have yet to come across a campus that is hitting all of those marks.

Most grading practices are designed to either create a floor number of expected assignments for poor teachers and/or to create a ceiling number of expected assignments for over-achieving (or hard case) teachers. As for creating consistency in grading expectations (rubrics), that’s a level of problem solving that almost no one is willing to tackle on a campus-wide level.

All of that to say, I think that every campus should have grading guidelines. I think that those guidelines should be developed by teams of teachers and administrators. I think the focus of those guidelines must be on what is best for students. And finally, I think that an individual teacher should have the ability to exercise a little discretion within those guidelines.

I hope that helps. If not, contact me.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

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