In response to the 1/12/11 post, “Grading Policy,” a reader writes: Yes, we should put more weight on assessment scores than on teacher created work, IF the teacher created work is not in alignment with state accountability standards. The teacher is doing a disservice to the students by having them do non-aligned work, If, on the other hand, her work is always in alignment and the students’ learning styles are compatible with her assessments and they assist in increasing her students’ knowledge, then the teacher made assessments should have the same weight. Keep in mind though that not all teachers should be using teacher made assessments. Grade level and team made assessments if in alignment should be given the same weight if they assist the student in increasing knowledge, higher level thinking, test taking skills. SC Response First, I’m going to paraphrase one of your statements, “The teacher harms the student when she assigns non-aligned work.” Harm, is the key word. We don’t see non-aligned work as harmful, but it is. It robs the student of both time and opportunity. I think we have to view it this seriously to discourage ourselves from engaging in this practice. Second, I won’t address your “work is in alignment position” because I believe it is immaterial. Yes, the work must be aligned, but the work is practice. I don’t want to take a “grade” on the practice; I want to take a “grade” on the final level of mastery. In fact, if I could solve the student motivation issue (which I can), then I don’t need to “grade” the practice to get students to practice. They practice because it makes them better and more competitive. Finally, you are on the right track with the idea that teachers should rely less on individually made assessments. But, as those who read the blog know, I am more concerned with assessment validity and protecting teacher time. Common assessments do a much better job on both of these fronts. Great comment, it sparked some critical thought. Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…Follow Sean Cain on