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Using Data to Improve Instruction in Five Steps or Less

Now, review the three essential pieces already mentioned above: curriculum, assessment, and instruction. Begin with the locally-written curriculum. Check the alignment of the curriculum to the state standards; particularly the standard that students performed poorly on. Ask yourself or your PLC these questions: Does the local curriculum require the same skills and knowledge as those in the state standards? Is the “essence” of the standard the same when it was …Read More

Book Briefing: The Other Side of the Report Card

In honor of School Library Month, this E-Hint is inspired by a new book: The Other Side of the Report Card: Assessing Students’ Social, Emotional, and Character Development by Maurice Elias, Joseph Ferrito and Dominic Moceri (2016). As curriculum developers, we know that academic learning should be thoughtfully planned, and that instruction and assessment should be carefully aligned to standards. However, we may occasionally ask ourselves, “What about the other aspects of development, for example, self-management and social awareness?Read More

Determine Percentages from Varied Component Criteria

When creating assessments, many teachers have difficulty deciding how to score them and then be able to turn that score into a percentage. When creating outcome assessments, all components must be represented; however, it’s possible they will not all be equal in terms of the number of questions posed and/or points awarded. For example, posing two problems and requiring at least one to be correct may be sufficient to indicate …Read More

Definitions for Grading Purposes

In the CLI Model, one of the major tasks of the Curriculum Coordinating Council is to lead the district in making decisions about grading practices. It is a difficult task and sometimes an emotional one, both because most teachers feel strongly about the issues involved, and because they all want to “do the right thing” for their students. Notice we’ve said the council members “lead the district.” They do not …Read More

Determining a Single Grade from Multiple and Varied Scoring Tools

The CLI E-Hint, Turning a Rubric into a Grade, discussed a method of creating a rubric to change a rubric score on a single assessment into a numeric score.  In this E-Hint, we will go a step further and provide a sample of how to change markings from multiple scoring tools and techniques to a single grade for an entire outcome. For this sample we are using a client district’s actual …Read More

Turning a Rubric into a Grade

As rubrics have evolved and become more useful as ways to evaluate student work and to communicate progress, the conflicts with grading have become increasingly troublesome.  More and more we encounter rubrics with no point value as teachers strive to make the rubric a tool that communicates a continuum of quality rather than a grade.  While that type of continuum is a desired result in many circumstances, it is a …Read More

No Such Thing as “Extra Credit”

“Extra credit” is a practice that has been around almost forever. So, suggesting that it be abandoned is, in many instances, like bringing up politics at a family reunion – it can elicit strong feelings and even heated words. However, it is another one of those practices that can skew a grade to the point of providing misleading information. Consider the following scenario. Alice is a good student in most …Read More

Students, Sleep, and Learning

The results of several different sleep studies have warned all of us – educators and parents – about the vital and serious consequences of too little sleep in children and teenagers. Examples of such studies are summarized in two articles that were published in New York magazine October 8, 2007. The articles, titled “Snooze or Lose” by Po Bronson and “How to Get Kids to Sleep More” by Ashley Merryman, …Read More

Grade Reporting in Primary Grades

One of the biggest topics of discussion in school districts today is how to report student learning.  There are multitudes of books, articles, and videos available on this topic that provide recommendations for the many issues to be considered when making decisions about report cards.  Probably at the top of the list among those issues are these two questions:  Do we use traditional letter grades at all grade levels, or …Read More

Grading Principles

Research continues to accumulate regarding grading practices. This research in combination with standards-based practice requires educators to examine and question how and why we grade both as individuals and as a collective group. At Curriculum Leadership Institute, we encourage Curriculum Coordinating Councils, Subject Area Committees, building faculties, and individual teachers to begin to take a hard look at what “we’ve always done” with grading and compare this to what research …Read More