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.
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.