Grading and Testing

What's in a grade?!

What is included when determining a grade?

When determining the grade of a student especially one with special needs it is very important to triangulate the data. Meaning that data on a student's progress and thus a grade should be based on at least three different sources for each subject area. This will provide the educators with the most comprehensive measurement of their academic progress. For example, this triangulation can include observations as well as assessments that are modified or accommodated based on the the requirements of the IEP. Testing/assessments should be varied based on the student's learning needs for the type of testing that should be given and/or included in the grade.

Triangulation of Grade

Grading should be based on the student achievement tests/assessments, your observations/perceptions of student work within class, and engagement within the classroom in terms of completion of homework and practice work completed in class. These three points of information are all important. Whether they should count equally is up to the school district and state common core standards. If the standards are being taught and assessed with fidelity then the student's learning outcome should be graded according to whether or not they have met the state standard. District's set their own requirements for what types of common assessments are used within each subject. For example, the School District of Beloit used the MAP assessment given for math and reading each trimester to all students.

Parent and Student Communication

Students and families are given a quarterly report card, as well as results from the MAP achievement test at parent teacher conferences held twice a year. In addition results of the district common assessments in math and reading are sent home with students when available by the choice of the teacher. I think it is important for my students to be good a self assessing their progress both academically and socially (especially since they are young learners...only 2nd grade). Weekly reflection sheets are sent home to parents informing them of their students results on completion of homework, student participation in class, and student behavior. I have received positive feedback from families these past couple years of this self reflection piece to measuring student progress.

Reducing Text Anxiety and Staying Motivated!

Teacher's can help reduce student test anxiety by given lots of sample and practice text problems/questions so students are aware a head of time what types of questions they will see on the test. Also, teachers can give ongoing assessments that are snapshots of the "big" tests in order for students to feel prepared and ready for the longer, more intensive, assessments. In addition student accommodations, including frequent breaks during and before tests, must be followed. Students should feel confident in what goal or score they are hoping to attain through the process of taking the test and understand the importance of the test before hand. This will also help with motivation and staying positive during and after the test.
Solutions For Test Anxiety .mpg

Responding to Cheating

Cheating should be treated differently depending on the age of the student and their grade. For example, the policy for cheating at the elementary level is much different than the middle or high school level. Since I am in the elementary setting I can speak to that for policy and how it should be handled. With that said it needs to be on a case by case basis. Students don't always realize what cheating is and how to avoid it especially when social and character development is still a huge part of their lives. Meaning that students often don't have family support to teach these types of appropriate behaviors in school and that teachers must set high standards but also be ready to reinforce and reteach expectations of doing your own work, not copying off of others, and taking responsibility for their actions. For my students, many of whom don't learn these skills at home, I am constantly reminding them to keep their eyes on their own paper, think for themselves, or they will have to retake the test on their own. Reminding them that part of being a good student is to take responsibility for your learning and actions!