Weekly Coaching Communication

Make it a great day -- every day!

12 - 16 October 2015

On the Standards Front . . .

Guskey, Thomas R. “Making the Grade: What Benefits Students?” Educational Leadership, v52 n2 p14-20 Oct 1994.

Of late, “On the Standards Front . . .” has been reviewing some of the most recent theories on grading and the shift from traditional grading to Standards-Based Grading (SBG). With the many responsibilities that you have, I want to continue to share these insights from the research and scholarly journals and books, to help keep you informed.

Although this is not the most recent of scholarly articles, Guskey’s article from 21 years ago this month is timeless in its message and concepts. As the pull quote claims, “Although the debate over grading and reporting practices continues, today we know which practices benefit students and encourage learning.” Granted, the “today” in the pull quote is referencing 1994, the same is true for 2015.

In the article, “Making the Grade: What Benefits Students?” Guskey explores and discusses five premises he titles, “Points of Agreement”:

  1. Grading and reporting aren’t essential to instruction.
  2. No one method of grading and reporting serves all purposes well.
  3. Regardless of the method used, grading and reporting remain inherently subjective.
  4. Grades have some value as rewards, but no value as punishments.
  5. Grading and reporting should always be done in reference to learning criteria, never on the curve.

Guskey’s article also offers an exploration of Learning Criteria and Practical Guidelines to use when grading and reporting. Finding it apropos because of the length of time that has passed since the article was first published, Guskey offers a brief history of grading practices since the 1880s.

SBG is a process, and it takes a systems check and a check of our practices and beliefs. Based on your current beliefs and understanding of SBG, some of Guskey’s points may not be agreeable; however, I encourage you to give Guskey a read (http://tinyurl.com/q5lj5uv) and see where his points and guidelines fit within your belief system.

Quick Clicks

Quote of the Week

What a week?! Proficiency scales on Monday . . . Data Teams on Wednesday -- It's been a tough thinking week about some difficult processes and concepts to wrap our heads around and have productive discussions.

After the meetings Wednesday morning, I was stoked about the productive conversations that I observed and was inspired by the staff’s commitment to working with the process. My thoughts turned to one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own, and the scene where Dottie (Gina Davis) is leaving to go back to Oregon, and her coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) chides her for “sneaking out” away from the game of baseball. When she says that the game and choices “just got too hard,” Jimmy’s reply, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great,” resonated with me.

On the surface, I’m sure that most of you would disagree with the idea that teaching and the concepts and processes we have toiled with this week are “supposed to be hard.” However, when considering the perspective of teachers about their profession, no argument can convince us that teaching is an easy profession or those without grit.

Too much is at stake for teachers to haphazardly employ new initiatives or be open to changes in their practice. Teaching is based on beliefs and a practice that has been developed over an extensive amount of time, and that time is not necessarily in years. New teachers have convictions and practices that may not fit with new initiatives or reform and feel the same toil as a teacher of several years. Regardless, the difficulties of teaching are a challenge that is accepted territory in the profession.

However, it is the difficult conversations, the hours of collaboration and coordination among teachers that makes those difficulties, that accepted challenge, so worthwhile and allows teachers to put the needs of students first and push them to limits they are not even aware they are capable of. What is difficult, is what makes the profession of teaching great.

Coaching Schedule -- see Google Calendar for specific "Busy" times **schedule subject to change**

Monday, 12 October

  • IC/Principal Meeting 7:30 AM -- Libolt & Popenhagen (moved from 10/9)
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources

Tuesday, 13 October

  • SBG Council Meeting 7:30 AM -- Husmann, Pickering, Tupa, Libolt & Popenhagen
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources

Wednesday, 14 October

  • Morning Meeting 7:45 -- All Staff in Art Room
  • IC/Principal/Supervisor Meeting 9 AM -- Libolt, Wooldridge & Popenhagen
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources
  • IC Training -- Anita Archer Webinar 3:30 PM

Thursday, 15 October

  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources
  • IC Training -- Data Tab Webinar 3:00 PM

Friday, 16 October

  • IC/Principal Meeting 7:30 AM -- Libolt & Popenhagen
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • IC Team Meeting 11:30 AM -- Intermediate

Contact Information

Instructional Coach

Center Point - Urbana CSD