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The Power of ZEROadapted from the presentation: Grading Practices Douglas Reeves, Ph.D.
Grading• Grades = Feedback to Improve Performance!• If you have high levels of success and low failure rates, your policy is sound and should be left alone.• If you have low levels of success and high failure rates, what you are doing is not working.• The “Real World” is not “You have one chance at it and you’re done”.
Grading• We seldom use “average” for anything else except grades.• Grades must never be used as punishment. It doesn’t work!• Rewards for work done daily are far greater than punishment for work done late.• The Driver’s License Test example – chance to “re-do/re-take”
Toxic (Ineffective) Grading Policies• The use of “zeroes” for missing work. Consequence should be to complete the work!• The practice of using the “average” of all scores during the grading period, a formula that presumes that the learning early in the semester is as important as learning at the end of the semester. (Marzano 2000; O’Connor, 2007)• The use of the “grading period killer” – the single project, test, lab, paper, or other assignment that will make or break students.
Toxic Grading Practices and AlternativesToxic Alternative • “Get ‘Er Done, Just• “Zeroes” for Do It”, missing work complete/submit• Average/Mean missing work• Grading Period • Best representation of work (Re-do, Re- Killer: One Test submit) or Project • Resilience, Personal Responsibility (Don’t let them off the hook!)
The Power of Zeroes Rick Wormeli, Middle Ground• Convert “zeroes” to “50s”• Conversion necessary so that any “calculating” is mathematically justified.• Not using “zeroes” is a more accurate picture of the students’ ability.
The Power of Zeroes Rick Wormeli, Middle Ground• “Zero” has an undeserved and devastating effect on students and their grades – so much that no matter what student does, the “zero” distorts the final grade as a true indicator of mastery.• Mathematically and ethically – unacceptable!
Negative Impact of “Zero” on a 100-Point Grading Scale0, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 = 83% = B50, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 = 92% = A
Negative Impact of “Zero” on a 100-Point Grading Scale• Should we use an “F” grade near the top of the “F” range, such as 50 in this case, or should we use the bottom, most hurtful and distorting of “F” grades – a “zero” - as the indicator of failure?• What purpose does it serve to use a “zero” to indicate a student failed to demonstrate mastery?
Negative Impact of “Zero” on a 100-Point Grading Scale• Should a string of perfect papers for a grading period combined with one paper not submitted equate to a lower grade? (NCLB-AYP)• What would happen if we did not count the lowest grade?• “Consider trying to find the average temperature over 5 days and recording 85, 82, 83, 86, then forgetting a day and recording “zero”. The average temperature would be 67, a figure that does not accurately show the weather from that week.
High Expectations Todd Whitaker• Great Teachers – high expectations for students and even higher for themselves. If students are not passing, they ask what they themselves can do differently.• Is accepting/allowing a student to earn a failing grade (F) and/or not completing the work an example of “high expectations”?• Absolutely not! It is the “lowest expectation” you can have for your students and must be unacceptable!
ExpectationsBehavior Academic• Students expected to • Students expected to behave complete/submit• Students expected to work? follow/obey rules • Students expected to• Students expected to follow directions of the assignment? follow procedures • Students expected to• Zero tolerance pass?• Misbehaving is not an • Zero Tolerance? option! • Failing is not an option!
Effective Grading Practices -Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D.• To reduce failure rate, schools don’t need a new curriculum, a new administration, new teachers, or new technology. They just need a better grading system.• Grading seems to be regarded as the last frontier of individual teacher/school discretion.
Effective Grading Practices -Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D.• The same school leaders and community members who would be indignant if referees, judges, etc. were inconsistent in their rulings continue to tolerate inconsistencies that have devastating effects on student achievement.
F (Fail) vs. I (Incomplete)• Goal – Student to complete the work.• WOO (Window of Opportunity) to complete missing assignments, re-test, re-submit, re-do etc.• Re -Do! Re-Take! Re-Test! Re-Submit!
Did You Know…• Two common causes of course failures – 1) missing homework; 2)poor performance on a single major assignment. Adjusting your policy would have a huge impact on student failures. (Reeves)
Did You Know………..• Assessments are used to provide the ladder for the student to crawl from his/her hole. Whether it is due to immaturity, behavior or cognitive readiness level, great teachers still provide the ladder. (Wormeli)• Distorted and inaccurate grades are little more than harsh punishment. Students want to throw down the ball and go home. They see no reason to play. Grades that reduce the negative effects of an imperfect grading system keep students in the game. (Marzano)
Better Students, BetterSchool, Better Climate! Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D• When grading policies improve, discipline and morale always improves!• When was the last time a single change in a school accomplished all of that?
Better Students, BetterSchool, Better Climate! Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D• When student failures decrease, student behavior improves, faculty morale is better, resources allocated to remedial courses and course repetitions are reduced, and resources invested in enrichment and other meaningful opportunities increase.
What should NOT beincluded in a grade? • Effort • Participation • Attitude • Behavior • Homework • Group work
Zero and the EC Student• Are you saying that the EC student retained zero percent of your instruction?• Are you grading effort and participation or mastery of a concept?• There has to be alternate methods to demonstrate mastery!• Can you achieve mastery by doing “page 87 numbers 1-24 even?”
Re-Do, Re-Take, Re-Test, Re-Submit!“The consequence for astudent who fails to meet astandard is not a low grade butrather the opportunity—indeed,the requirement—to resubmithis or her work. “ -- Douglas
“What information provides the most accuratedepiction of students’ learning at this time? Innearly all cases, the answer is ‘the most currentinformation’.If students demonstrate that past assessmentinformation no longer accurately reflects theirlearning, that information must be dropped andreplaced by the new information.” --Guskey
“The use of an ‘I’ or ‘Incomplete’grade is an alternative to assigningzeros that is both educationallysound and potentially quiteeffective.” --Guskey & Bailey
Incompletes• “I” Contracts- for both individual concepts and final grades.• Should clearly outline the desired learning outcomes.• Should allow time for re-teaching.• Communication with parents, students, and administration.
STUDENT CONTRACT FOR REMEDIATION OF FAILING GRADEGrading Period 1 2 3 4 _____ I, ________________________________, understand that my current grade for Reading Class is an F ( _____ % ), but will receive an “I” for Incomplete on the report card._____ I understand that my teacher is giving me the opportunity to complete/retake specific assignments for the expressed purpose of not making a failing grade._____ I understand that I have 3 weeks to improve my grade. All work, tests, and/or assignments that my teacher gives me are due on ___________________________ at the beginning of the period._____ I understand it is my responsibility to complete this work at home._____ I understand I must complete the work to get a good grade on it. I must give this work to my teacher to grade on or before the due date above._____ I understand at the end of the 3 weeks my teacher will change my grade on the report card from an “I” to the appropriate grade after my work has been graded.
EC Grading Policy• Grades will be based upon STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT• Grades will be based upon MASTERY OF CONCEPTS AND SKILLS• Students should have MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES to demonstrate mastery
Resources• O’Connor, “A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes or Broken Grades” “How to Grade for Learning”• Marzano, “Assessment and Grading that Works”• Guskey, “Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading”
Do you want to be right or do you want to solve the problem? -Dr. Phil