A few reflection questions about your class:
How many grades does each student have for one semester?

Has a student ever got an A in your class that could not use the language? Or failed because of missing class work?

How much time do you spend grading a week? Compared to planning?

Have you ever entered students’ final grades and realized how they match, or don’t match, their current grade?

My district specialist gave us the book Ahead of the Curve: The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning (Leading Edge (Solution Tree) to read during the summer. One chapter addressed grading. Do your grades reflect what a student can do (and how well) in the class? This hit me! No! They don’t! My grades represented what they turned in instead of their ability. So I wanted to change this by using more proficiency-based grades and make my school happy. We have Infinite Campus (which I’m not a fan of) so I needed to simplify because I do not like using it.

I created a paper for each student. I did it this way because I can copy this for a parent or the student. If you like your grading program, just set up something similar. This is a sample of what I’m trying to do this year. My real ones are not this neat. 🙂
20120427-180553.jpg I use this paper to keep notes about what I gave them and the max possible score.

So for each unit, they have:
1. The stamp sheet (a completion check of the unit goals during class)
2. The Real World homework– I copy it on the back of the stamp sheet so I only collect one paper from each at the end of the unit
3. Two performance-based proficiency assessments– I’ve been trying to give one interpretive and one presentational or interpersonal. Sometimes they choose if they want speaking or writing so I note that on their sheet
4. The final assessments and/or IPAs
5. Blank spots in case I add a project or sub work

That’s it! At first I was worried that students would slack in class. Yes, that happened, but it quickly changed after they couldn’t do the proficiency assessment.

Here’s an example of a student’s page:
When I have to enter a grade in Infinite Campus, I average the grades. Usually I don’t need a calculator.
The stamps (class work) are one category weighted as 10%.
The Real World (homework) is weighted as 10%.
The unit assessments are weighted as 40%.
The end of course Finals are weighted as 40%.
If I didn’t have to follow these category guidelines, I’d only count the end of course final assessments.

I inform students and parents (and administration) that their grades only change at the end of a unit. So far, knocking on wood, I have not had complaints about this.

It was a big scary change at first. “If I don’t grade it, they won’t do it!” Well that is not true. And I’m happier because I grade less, but I give more feedback.

What do you think???