This is WDMCS

West Des Moines Community Schools | Feb. 9, 2019

WDMCS Athletics

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WDMCS Strategic Plan: Start with WHY

WDMCS Portrait of a Graduate

A central focus for all WDMCS staff centers around our Portrait of a Graduate statement. Starting with the strategic plan and filtering to all schools and district departments, the work we do is intended to help prepare students for post-secondary education, careers, and life.

"A West Des Moines Community Schools graduate

will possess the essential skills and integrity

to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems

as a confident citizen, embracing

our diverse and changing world."

WDMCS Smartphone App: News, Calendar, Notifications

Effective Grading Practices: Purpose, Practices

In order to facilitate consistent and effective grading practices as outlined in Priority Six of the WDMCS Strategic Plan, a task force representing parents, teachers, central office administration, building administration, and school board members engaged in a yearlong process during the 2016-17 school year to study various assessment and grading methodologies. By consensus, the task force recommended a districtwide grading purpose statement that reads:

The purpose of grading is to communicate achievement relative

to course standards to students and parents.

The task force came to the consensus that WDMCS had the capacity to implement five grading practices focused on assessment for learning.

1. Use quality assessments.

The term "quality assessments" includes a variety of methods to evaluate student learning. For example, a state assessment given once a year provides a snapshot of achievement.In contrast, day-to-day monitoring of learning using intentional tools and practices provides timely feedback to both students and parents/guardians.

2. Achievement and behavior will be reported separately.

Achievement grades should be determined based on individual achievement of the content standards (or equivalent standards) and learning targets. Students should not be penalized for requiring more time, resources, or support to demonstrate proficiency of a standard. Effort, participation, attitude and other essential life skills should not be included in grades but should be incorporated into learning with feedback for growth.

3. Involve students in the assessment process—allow for reassessment opportunities.

It is important for students to become reflective learners who are able to self-assess and set goals for themselves. Students learn at different rates and require multiple opportunities to practice skills, revise thinking, demonstrate their learning, and track their progress. These opportunities should be a part of the continued learning happening daily in class.

4. Grades reflect the standards in the Iowa Core (or equivalent standards).

The Iowa Core, mandated by Iowa Code, provides clear and rigorous expectations or standards. Some courses such as Advanced Placement courses or DMACC courses also provide rigorous expectations with course competencies or objectives. Systems that are aligned - curriculum, teaching, and assessment - will yield greater success for students.

5. Use criterion-referenced grades. Students can demonstrate understanding at a specified level of proficiency.
Criterion-referenced grades are used to distribute grades related to content standards and learning targets. Criterion-referenced assessment informs how well students are performing on specific standards rather than sharing performance compared to a norm group of students.

Starting in 2017-18, an effective grading team of approximately 55 teachers, teacher leaders, and administrators began to engage in shared learning and work in order to further define each effective grading practice and impact implementation of five effective grading practices. This work has continued throughout this school year. The goal is to implement all five effective grading practices for the 2019-20 school year.

WDMCS "Thank You" Notes

We have so much to celebrate in WDMCS! Our people should be part of that celebration. Write a quick note of recognition when you witness someone doing great things in our district.

West Des Moines Community Schools

We understand a students’ education is an important part of their life journey, and we are committed to their success. At WDMCS, students will gain knowledge and develop skills to prepare them for life. The excellent opportunities we offer enable students to explore their interests and achieve their potential because we believe every student can find their place in the WDMCS.