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* Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning. A “grading orientation” and a “learning orientation” have been shown to be inversely related. (Alfie Kohn) –Lisa –Kohn & Hattie/Sarah- Carol & growth mindset Grades create a preference for the easiest possible task and may lead to a fixed mindset. (Carol Dweck) The more people are rewarded for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward (Kohn, 1993) * Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking. They may skim books for what they’ll “need to know.” They’re less likely to wonder, say, “How can we be sure that’s true?” than to ask “Is this going to be on the test?”. (Alfie Kohn) John Hattie’s work on the impact of self reporting grades: http://visible-learning.org/nvd3/visualize/hattie-ranking-interactive-2009-2011-2015.html Letter grades are based on a comparative system- not a true assessment of 21st C skills
Carol Dweck’s research into mindset indicate that grades may lead to a fixed mindset over a growth mindset which can limit learning.(i.e. I am a C+ student) Goal for French- a or fluent? anxiety John Hattie’s work on effect size reports that practices such as teacher estimates of achievement, student self -report of grades, feedback and formative assessment have the greatest impact on student learning. Many research studies findings support the idea that grades can cause stress/anxiety and can cause competition amongst kids
Cooperative learning 0.59 – competition .23
Is the goal of French is to be fluent or to get an A?
Tina: Ongoing and specific communications about student learning (information about growth, achievements and next steps) Inclusion of student reflection and student input regarding their own learning Evidence of student learning (e-folio, exhibition, 3-way conferences, learning journals etc.) There will still be a summative report that includes child’s achievement, challenges and goals, self assessment of competency development Reporting will be consistent with Ministry Guidelines
THIS ISN’T NEW!
Sea to Sky CSL Pilot Presentation
School District No.48 (Sea to Sky)
Presentation by our teachers
Time for questions at the end
Ongoing assessment aligns much better with the new Ministry
curriculum and with our Pathways Strategic Plan.
In order to adapt our practice, it is necessary for districts like
ours to work together with students and parents to explore
better ways of supporting and communicating student
There is now 70 years of research that tells us letter grades
do more harm than good when it comes to student learning.
The Ministry Interim Reporting Order has opened the
opportunity for all districts to work with their community on
The movement reaches well beyond the corridor and our
School District. Several districts around the province are doing
similar pilots or already have a no letter grade option.
Some districts haven’t issued letter grades in grades 4-9 for
some time now.
There will be a pre pilot survey and a post pilot survey to give
parents a chance to inform the process. Teachers, principals,
and senior staff will collect information from parents and
students in an ongoing manner.
The learning that we do during this pilot will impact our
future assessment and reporting policies and practices.
Indications are that as practices evolve, interest in letter
grades will diminish.
The pilot is for grades 4-9 only and will occur from now until
the end of this school year.
Parents in participating classes would have been notified by
Currently 28 teachers have “opted in” to do ongoing
Parents of students in a pilot class may “opt out” - Letter
grades will be available by request during scheduled reporting
times. Indicate your preference to your child’s teacher in the
normal way you communicate with them.
There will be a final summative reporting document at year
end (without letter grades – except by parent request).
Permanent Student Records will still be updated with letter
grades at year end as per Ministry process.
Pilot teachers will still try to give ongoing assessments to all
students and parents as best they can, even if parents indicate
that they will want letter grades.
We are modernizing our assessment and communication
practices in keeping with what we know about what impacts
student learning and achievement most, based upon decades
Better supports our curriculum focus on student competency
development and pathways to learning.
And yet…it’s a huge cultural shift so we need to take slow
steps forward and we need to take them together. Hence the
pilot project that we are embarking on.
We are shifting from “reporting/report cards” (summative) to
“communicating student learning” (formative) which includes
describing and documenting learning in new ways.
We will be supporting meaningful communication between
teachers, parents and learners including clear descriptions,
collections of authentic evidence and/or demonstrations of student
learning on an ongoing basis rather than letter grades reported
three times per year.
Communications will use clear, criterion based, performance
standards-based or continuum language to accompany
assessments and work samples.
Alfie Kohn,MA Paul Black, PhD and Dylan Wilian,PhD Carol Dweck, PhD John Hattie, PhD
Boston Kings College, London Jo Boaler, PhD University of Melbourne
Br J Educ Psychology, 1988;58:1–14 (original
on student achievement
The impact of grades and comments
on student achievement
When the classroom culture focuses on rewards, gold stars, grades, or
class ranking, then (students) look for ways to obtain the best marks
rather than to improve their learning.
One reported consequence is that, when they have any choice, (students)
avoid difficult tasks. They also spend time and energy looking for clues
to the “right answer”.
As few as two “poor” scores or letter grades can significantly damage
students’ perceptions of their abilities as a learner. Decreased efficacy
results in students lessening effort or avoid/ abort their involvement in
the task. (Marzano & Pickering,2011, p.15-16)
Visible effect size 0.4
“We must constantly remind ourselves that the ultimate
purpose of evaluation is to have students become self-
evaluating. If students graduate from our school still
dependent upon others to tell them when they are adequate,
good, or excellent, then we’ve missed the whole point of what
education is about.”
(p. 280) Costa, A. & Kallick, B. 1992. Defining Indicators of
Achievement. ThousandOaks, CA: Corwin Press.
That leaves proponents of grades for younger children to fall
back on some version of an argument I call “BGUTI”: Better
Get Used To It (Kohn, 2005). The claim here is that we should
do unpleasant and unnecessary things to children now in
order to prepare them for the fact that just such things will be
done to them later. This justification is exactly as absurd as it
sounds, yet it continues to drive education policy.
Students will not do the work if not graded
But teachers who can give a child a better reason for studying
don’t need grades. Research substantiates this: when the
curriculum is engaging – for example, when it involves hands-
on, interactive learning activities — students who aren’t
graded at all perform just as well as those who are graded
(Moeller and Reschke, 1993).
Move learning along a continuum
Promote growth mindset and life-long learning
Encourage meta-cognitive reflection
Increase ownership of, “buy-in”, and empowerment over learning
Options may include:
Descriptive Feedback Digital portfolios Student Exhibitions/Three Way
Reading Assessments may
include: DRA, PM Benchmarks,
Jerry Johns, DART
Grade Wide Writes assessed
with Performance Standards and
Classroom generated criteria
Core competency rubrics and
Triangulation of data
Teacher, peer, self assessments
Timely, ongoing, descriptive
Performance standards used
to assess and set goals
Descriptive vocab, variety of
sentences, goal to work on editing for
run on sentences
Solid structure, goal to work on more
Student Comment- I am working on using
metaphors and similes to make my writing
“Letter grades don’t tell me what I need to work on.” Oscar, 10
“I felt great about my first letter grades because I got good ones.
The letter grade doesn’t give me an example of what I needed to
work on to get better in math. In ski school there is more
explanation of exactly how to get better.” Tay, 9
“I kinda actually like it but don’t like talking about it with the class.
If they didn’t get the best grades they don’t feel real good and if
they did really good, they show off. Say you got a C+. “Oh I have
to work on this at home but it doesn’t tell you what you have to
work on exactly.” Ryan, 10
Blackwell, L., Trzesniewski, K., & Dweck, C. (2007). Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an Adolescent Transition: A
Longitudinal Study and an Intervention. Child Development, Vol. 78, No. 1, pp. 246-263.Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of
Success. Random House: New York.
Boaler, J. (2016). Mathematical Mindsets. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from https://www.youcubed.org/mathematical-mindsets/
Boaler, J. (2016). Aligning Assessment to Brain Science. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from https://www.youcubed.org/think-it-up/aligning-
Butler R. (1988) Enhancing and undermining intrinsic motivation: the effects of task-involving and ego-involving evaluation on interest and
performance. Br J Educ Psychol. 1988;58:1–14. http://www.mauricevanwerkhooven.nl/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Cijfers-belemmeren-
Dweck, Carol. (2015). Mindset Works. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from https://www.mindsetworks.com/page/increase-students-
Hattie, J. (2017). Hattie Ranking: 195 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from
Hattie, J. The Mindsets That Make the Differences in Education. John Hattie Visible Learning Laboratories University of Auckland
Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://www.vs-kombre.kk.edus.si/komercialist/visiblearning.pdf
Kohn, A. (2011, November). The Case Against Grades. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from
Lipnevich, Anastasiya A., (2008) Response to Assessment Feedback: The Effects of Grades, Praise, and Source of
Information (2008) Educational Testing Service
Sackstein, S. (2015) Hacking Assessment, Ten Ways to go Gradeless in a Traditional Grade School. Times 10 Publication,
Schinske J, Tanner K. (2014) Teaching More by Grading Less (or Differently). CBE Life Sci Educ. 2014 Summer;13(2):159-
66. doi: 10.1187/cbe.CBE-14-03-0054.
CBE Life Sci Educ. 2014 Summer;13(2):159-66. doi: 10.1187/cbe.CBE-14-03-0054.
Wilian, Dylan (1999) Formative Assessment in Mathematics Part 2: Feedback Equals: Mathematics and Special
Educational Needs 5(3) 8-11; Autumn 1999