Assessment …A new way of thinking about grades
Assessment differs from grading.. In fact, assessment holds little in common with grading.
Teachers use assessment to guide instruction, and to determine what instruction strategies deliver results. Assessment allows teachers to make in-time corrections to dodge teaching mistakes.
Grading menas evaluating students, ranking them, distributing each student’s value across a scale. The scale can be numerical (100, 99, 98, …), a numerical percentage (100%, 99%, 98%,…), and alphabetical range (A, B, C, D, …), or a numerical rank (4.0, 3.0, 2.0, 1.0).
Students like assessments, and students dislike grades.
Assessments solidify a class and bring students and teachers together as learning teams.
Grades fragment a class and create student rivals.
Using the threat of low grades represents the egregious use (abuse) of grades. When teachers use grade threats to control students’ behavior and to enforce teacher commands; teachers distance students from learning.
An example: The teacher that warns, “If you don’t’ do what I say, you will fail this class.”
The old saw used by teachers proves this distinction between assessment and grading. “I don’t assign grades, it is the student that earns them. I merely record what the student has earned.”
This shows assessment at its worst. And, this approach fails to motivate students. to “work hard.”
Teachers set battle lines if they employ such techniques classes with low socioeconomic wealth (i.e., blighted city neighborhoods, poor rural communities, barrios, reservations).
Some myths about assessment:
- Tests provide the best (only, fair, objective) way to assess students
- All students must be graded (assessed) in the same way
- If students miss a test, they must to make it up
- Students’ high grades proves that the teacher is a “good” teacher
- Students who fall “behind” should not receive “high grades” because this will confuse their parents
- Grade values are the measure used to determine whether students “pass” to the next grade
Even though we make a distinction between assessment and grades, you must assign grades to remain employed in your teaching job. The best way to create grades: use computer grade book program or a spreadsheet.
Link to a low-tech grade calculator: eZ Grader/ The Original Slide Chart
Grade Book Programs?
Modern Learning Management Systems, and publishers of e-Textbooks offer online grading programs.
And school districts offer network grade books to print report cards, maintain student records, offer online grade tracking for parents…and to facilitate supervision by district and coampue achool administrators.
I used a spreadsheet to calculate grades. I found spreadsheets to be quicker and more flexible than entering grades into a grade book program, and I found that a mail merge of for the mandatory progress reports was more flexible. I could add news, public relations (PR) messages and an upcoming events calendar to the progress report.
Of course, I knew how to write the formulas to customize these spreadsheets, so that:
- The Workbook contained a Summary page with all grades and attendance for the year
- Students were not penalized for missing assignments
- Students low grades could not fall below 50%
Links to spreadsheet templates:
Microsoft™ provides spreadsheet templates that you can use. Here are the links:
=> Bubble Grid
Student Assessment Pre-Configured Research