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Equitable Grading Practices

Introduction and Objectives

Educational research over the past years has focused on traditional grading practices and how they have become an impediment to meaningful student learning. In this unique learning environment, it became apparent that the traditional grading was not accurately reflecting our students’ fluency with the learning objectives. This understanding led to the adoption of equitable grading practices, which allows our students to demonstrate their deeper learning of material. Using equitable grading practices, a student’s grades will be a reflection of their mastery of the learning objectives, as published on course syllabi, unit and lesson plans. Coursework will include both formative and summative assessments to give students the opportunity to learn and demonstrate the skills and content.


Formative Assessments

Students can interpret their progress toward these learning objectives in a mistake-friendly manner with formative assessment. Formative assessments help monitor student learning and allow teachers to offer feedback as students progress toward unit and course objectives. These assessments help teachers plan instruction and guide students toward growth areas. While teachers will give feedback to students on their progress, formative assessments minimally factor into the grade.

Examples of Formative Assessment:

  • HOMEWORK: The purpose of homework is to provide students with opportunities for practice, preparation and extension.
  • QUIZZES: Quizzes serve to check on students’ knowledge and comprehension while building toward higher-order skill development.
  • FEEDBACK: Both narrative and quantitative feedback on formative assessments prepare students to complete summative assessments of the same objectives. A record of feedback provides a useful narrative to teachers, students, and parents, who can track a student’s progress.

Summative Assessment

When students complete a unit, they will demonstrate their fluency with the objectives through summative assessments. These assessments offer students the chance to demonstrate mastery of specific learning objectives. Summative assessments are entered into the overall grade.

Summative assessments vary by discipline and by the skills they are asking students to demonstrate; rather than a formative task that monitors learning or informs teaching (or reteaching), a summative assessment evaluates student learning to determine the extent to which students have met the learning objectives. Examples include but are not limited to projects that build over time, portfolios, podcasts, essays or research papers, performance tasks, end of unit or term projects or tests.

Students will have the opportunity to reflect on and revise many summative assignments to demonstrate developed understanding of skills. It standardizes grading across levels and ensures that students' grades are a reflection of their knowledge and skills.


Conclusion

When students are graded and judged on every assignment, they are discouraged from taking risks and can easily become obsessed with earning points. Taking risks and having the chance to revise nurtures meaningful growth, increases resilience, and emphasizes learning and application. Equitable grading practices empower students to take ownership of their own growth and learning.

These revised grading practices reflect our school's commitment to nurturing the student's whole development. Our goal as a school is to help students become confident, independent learners, and these practices assist in that. Students will take responsibility for their learning so that they can develop skills that translate beyond the walls of just the classroom and really prepare them for life after high school.

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