Tag Archives: Grades

But What Does it Mean? Systems to Help Students Understand Grades

During our month-long webinar series for the new school year, Heinemann is featuring a ”Classroom Essentials for Right Now”  back to school blog series written by colleagues from The Educator Collaborative. Each blog offers practical, heartfelt advice on how to start the year off right. From being a thoughtful, reflective practitioner to creating a joyful community of learners, honoring student voice and choice. How do I choose the right books? How do I help my students become better writers? What do I do about grades? Join us as colleagues share their “Classroom Essentials for Right Now” from The Education Collaborative. In today's post, Heather Rocco writes about how to help our students understand grades. 

Image by Poodar Chu

But What Does it Mean? Systems to Help Students Understand Grades

Written by The The Educator Collaborative Contributor, Heather Rocco

School is underway! You have your online or paper grade book organized with color-coded columns and point values assigned.  You are ready to evaluate your 100, 125, or 150 students, posting a letter or number grade into a box at the end of every 10 or 20 week period based on the grades you have collected throughout the marking period.  But do your middle or high school students know what the letter represents?  For most students (and their parents), they believe it means they are either good at English or not.  They do not see a C as opportunity to grow as a writer of argument or a reader of science fiction or a public speaker or a inquisitive researcher.  They see it as judgment.  And we, their secondary level teachers, bemoan this dynamic.  We want our students to see the growth potential in that B- or understand what learning they need to move from a B+ to an A.  However, we have taken this want and made it our students’ responsibilities to figure out, which they are truly not trained to do.  So if we want our grades to mean something more to students than “good” or “bad,” we need to improve how we assess and communicate growth for students. 

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Online PLC: What About Grades?


During the month of April, we will examine the place that assessment has in the lives of both educators and students. Keep this question in mind as you view, read, and share thoughts from this month's content: In what ways can we assess what we value?  Today's post by Katherine Bomer is from Heinemann's Digital Library.

by Katherine Bomer

What About Grades?

Most of us can relate to the anxiety around this question. Unfortunately, we must confront required grading and testing even as we still try to open up possibilities of teaching writing. There is a disconnect between what we know to be powerful teaching and what the current politicized education system tells us to do to measure learning with rubrics, numbers, and letters in the name of holding teachers accountable for teaching and students accountable for learning.

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