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Grading Gazette

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Pollyanna Littlefield

on 2 December 2015

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Transcript of Grading Gazette

Specially Designed Instruction
TEC=Texas Education Code
Educators Wonder....Why the Fuss?
Access to the General Curriculum
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Pollyanna Littlefield, M.Ed., Elgin ISD
But guess what? There were other horses..other horses who worked harder and didn't win but still earned progress and success. There were also managers and trainers who put in the same effort and they still competed and were successful in their own right. Individual successes were met that day for all involved and they earned their places.
American Pharoah Earns the Triple Crown
by: Ken O'Connor
Technologically Speaking
Grading Gazette
Students who qualify for special education services are in need of Specially Designed Instruction (SDI)
We meet this requirement by the annual development of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) with the input of the ARD committee
These goals are not the same as a course content but rather address the student's documented disability.

Progress reported on these goals are NOT the same as a grade.
Academic goals have a link to grade-level standards, but they are not the same as standards and serve a different purpose.
Grading communicates the student's achievement toward mastery of standards and the IEP gives the ARD committee information needed to make individualized decisions about the special education and related services a student requires in order to receive.

With the development of such plan, for our students, we may plan for some courses to be modified to best meet the needs of the student or decide that only some accommodations or a combination of both are needed.
However, with such an individualized plan of instruction we typically fail to address how our students will be assessed daily and graded objectively, consistently and purposefully.
What Responsibility do I have?
(TEC) 28.0126 outlines a district's grading policy:
1. Must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the student's relative mastery of an assignment;

2. May not require a classroom teacher to assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student's quality of work; and

3. May allow a student a reasonable opportunity to make up or redo a class assignment or examination for which the student received a failing grade
What Does Best Practice Suggest?
"Making the Grades" an article by Ken O'Connor

Grades should reflect the mastery of TEKS as decided in the student's IEP
Students progress differently and their grading should be consistent with their individualized education plan
According to Ken O'Connor:
Grades should be
Accurate, Meaningful, Consistent and Support Learning
Eliminating the use of penalties for behaviors such as submitting required assessment evidence after due dates, absence, and academic dishonesty;
Eliminating the use of extra credit for activities that have nothing to do with demonstration of achievement of standards;
Ensuring that grades are based on individual achievement, which means that group scores have no place in the determination of grades;
Ensuring that every assessment meets standards for quality assessment—clear targets, clear purpose, and sound design
by Paraprofessionals, General and Special Education Teachers
special education teacher
is responsible for providing this to the general education teacher either physically or electronically.
LEA=Local Education Agency or your school district
Changes in how the student is accessing the content and materials.

They do not change the learning standards but allow them to participate in and demonstrate mastery of the TEKS (AGC).

Intended to reduce or eliminate the effects of a student's disability

Must be implemented to ensure fairness in grading
Changes the depth of what students are taught and tested

Practice and procedure that change the nature of the task or target skill

Fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectation of the student

Allows for a shift from subjective grades and provides a path for objective measures and mastery of assignment to be the basis of grades in compliance with TEC 28.0216
Accommodations, Modifications and Grade Considerations
Considerations need to be made for each subject
Growth vs. Fixed Mindset
Fixed Thoughts and Solution Focused Answers
Fixed Thoughts
Students with IEPs cannot receive a failing grade, I'll just give them a 70
Any student can receive a failing grade if they do not meet mastery of a course
The purpose of the IEP with the accommodation and /or modifications do not guarantee a passing grade in a subject but rather guarantees access to the general curriculum with specially designed instruction
Students with higher grades have higher self-esteem
Students self-esteem increases when their grades accurately reflect their achievement. When they receive grades based on behaviors, such as effort, or grades not tied to their actual achievement they actually lose motivation (Ring & Reetz, 2000)
TEC 28.0216-a school district's grading policy must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the student's relative mastery of an assignment
Grades should be based on the modified standard if applicable
In general education student's receiving inclusion services will be graded under the general education project, writing, presentation, performance rubrics, etc
Consider the student's disability and all types of assessments, formative and summative and how the student may be effected. During the ARD committee, discuss what if any accommodations or modifications a student may need per subject based on objective information or concerns to ensure the LRE. Once all accommodations or modifications have been ensured and there are feelings that a student still may not be able to have AGC then alternative or modified grading systems should be considered for that student per subject and/or disability area.
-That accommodation is not allowable on the STAAR Test so I'm not going to utilize it.
-There is no such thing as a modified STAAR test so we should no longer modify assessments or classwork
Regulation 34 CFR 300.160 states that local and state policies may not allow accommodations that invalidate test scores on a test used for accountability purposes however, formative and summative assessments that are not utilized for accountability can use any accommodation or modification that provides an equal opportunity for students to demonstrate what they know and to prevent bias
Remember: it's important in the ARD to distinguish between instructional accommodations and accommodations on the state assessment
LEA may not have a modified grading system that is limited solely to students with disabilities (Letter to Runkel, 1996)
Ring.M. M., & Reetz, L. (2000)
Modification effects on attribution of middle school students with learning disabilities..
Learning Disabilities Research and Practice
, 15, 34-42.
Freedman, Miriam Kurtzig. (2008). Grades, Report Cards, etc....and the Law. Boston: School Law Pro.com. Retrieved Nov. 2013.
Standards Based Grading-Pros and Cons
Op Ed:
The 3 Peaks of Standards Based Grading

Growth Mindset
Teachers are able to use ongoing formative assessments as a way to guide classroom instruction. Students are able to practice their mastery of standards without the penalty of receiving a poor grade in the gradebook. The process of reteaching creates an opportunity for both teachers and students to learn from their mistakes.

Teachers are able to reflect on instruction and evaluate if their lessons truly met the needs of their learners. Students are able to focus their efforts on concepts they struggled to understand and the option for reassessment. Together, reteaching and reassessment allow for all stakeholders to experience that intelligence can be developed and is not set in stone (Dweck, 2008).

Quality Curriculum and Assessments
Standards-based grading requires me to closely examine the actual standards of my content and evaluate the predetermined objectives. Without a clear set of measurable standards, there cannot be quality classroom instruction.

Clear Communication
Standards-based grading allows to clearly communicate with students and parents where individuals are with their understanding of each concept. No longer are students able to hide behind weighted averages and positive academic behaviors such as attendance.

Students should be motivated toward mastery of the material and not demotivated by trying hard and still getting a bad grade on an assessment, only to have to move right along to the next concept without gaining any insight. Standards-based grading allows me to clearly communicate with students about why they did poorly on the previous assessment, and to offer them a chance to work harder toward gaining mastery of the material and demonstrating their ability to achieve.

The 3 Pitfalls of Standards Based Grading

Teaching Responsibility
"I like the overall goal. But I don't want children to always think they can re-do things so they don't try their best the first time" (anonymous parent). I've had many parents communicate a similar concern to me throughout the school year so far. Although some are grateful for reteaching and reassessment, others are worried that we are not preparing their children for the "real world." I communicate to these parents that we are trying to encourage students to value persistence and appreciate effort in order to reach higher levels of achievement, which will benefit them into adulthood.

More Time?
All educators experience the need for more time in the school day, week, month, and year! Reteaching and reassessment opportunities have created additional work for classroom teachers. They are now grading assessments and subsequent reassessments which can take up a significant amount of time.

Many teachers utilize their regular classroom time for reteaching while allowing those students who demonstrated mastery to move on to more challenging concepts independently. Scheduling reassessments has been a challenge, as some teachers have digital assessments that require the computer lab. As more teachers convert to digital assessments and reassessments, the demand for technology has increased schoolwide.

Remaking the Wheel
Redesigning many formative and summative assessments constantly. Some of the activities or projects that had been previously used in a classroom have been passed on by veteran teachers. Upon closer examination, these resources were very well designed but did not effectively offer the opportunity for students to demonstrate proficiency of content standards.
3 Peaks and 3 Pits of Standards-Based Grading a blog entry by Josh Work
Final Thoughts
Life Skill students should just receive a grade for trying or it is not fair to give a grade to Life Skills students when they cannot do the work
The considerations for grading students with severe cognitive disabilities are the same for all students (see flowchart). IDEA 2004 has an explicit focus to provide all students with AGC. Students accessing the general curriculum through prerequisite skills should be assessed on those standards according to their IEP modifications and earn grades based on those activities . The essence of the content at the grade level should not change.
TEA Vertical Alignment Document
Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?” If so, he says, “You may be outscored but you will never lose.”
Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Practical and Best Practice Strategies
Standards Based Grading:
Include and define in your ARD document
Consider purpose statements and rubrics
Compels teachers to distinguish between
product, process and progress
Grades are determined on standards and the average of those opportunities are aquired
Remember these key points and thoughts when assigning grades:
All students are general education students
All students should have AGC
Special Education students SDI should be considered in grading decisions
Behaviors such as homework or classwork completion, attendance or tardiness, effort, following of class rules, and organization, or other factors not directly related to mastery of the TEKS or standards should be reported separately from achievement.
Students' IEP progress cannot be substituted for a grade

Texas Education Code requires that a school district-
1. Must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the student's relative mastery of an assignment;

2. May not require a classroom teacher to assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student's quality of work; and

3. May allow a student a reasonable opportunity to make up or redo a class assignment or examination for which the student received a failing grade

Please reference your LEA policy to see how this could be implemented in your district
All students fall under this policy because all students are general education students first
Special Education students can fail and are not "owed" a 70 for just trying, etc
To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks. ~A.A. Milne

Pollyanna Littlefield, M.Ed.
Elgin ISD
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