State Standards and Grades – Consideration 2
Recently, I was in the data room of a high school campus where the following goals were posted.
EOC Mastery Goals
Algebra 1: 40%
English I: 12%
English II: 11%
U.S. History: 39%
If the campus has a goal of 40% of its students performing at the Mastery level on the Algebra I EOC, what percentage of students should receive an “A” for the semester grade?
The least common answer: 40% or lower.
The argument being that the semester grade should primarily be a reflection of the level of mastery of the content, with limited consideration of effort and growth. This drives a grading formula of:
Substandard Results + High Effort + High Growth = Rarely an A.
Met Expected Results + Effort = A.
Met Expected Results + No Effort = Possibly not an A
Philosophically, I fall into this much smaller camp of educators, with a caveat. Because I have been in this camp for most of my career, I have figured some things out.
If mastery is the goal, then the most important grade is the cumulative exam at the end of the course. This is the EOC in state tested courses and the final in non-state tested courses. Which means that all the work prior to the EOC or final is just… practice. And with practice, all that really matters is that you show up and break a sweat. As for student motivation, all the teacher has to do is make the case that more effort and more practice will lead to greater levels of success. For those who doubt that this is possible, go observe just one pre-season practice or rehearsal. Dealers choice on which sport or performance fine art you observe.
To be continued…
Think. Work. Achieve.
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