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Grading Practices Douglas Reeves, Ph.D.


Grading Practices Douglas Reeves, Ph.D. Deland Middle School 2008-2009 ESE Grading Policy Grades will be based upon STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT Grades will be based upon ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Grading Practices Douglas Reeves, Ph.D.

Grading PracticesDouglas Reeves, Ph.D.
  • Deland Middle School
  • 2008-2009

Sample Action Research Project
  • Research Question
  • How do differences in grading policy (and not
    differences in student performance) influence
    student failure rates?
  • Method
  • Faculty will examine identical student academic
    performance and provide a grade.
  • Analysis
  • Similarities indicate consistency and fairness
    dissimilarities indicate differences based on
    faculty decisions, not student performance.
  • Complete Learning Activity

Calculate the Final Grade for this Student
  • C, C, MA (Missing Assignment), D, C, B, MA, MA,
    B, A
  • Group 1 A100, B90, C80, D70
  • Group 2 A4, B3, C2, D1
  • Group 3 Choose your own system but you must
    have a letter grade

2008 Research on Effective Grading Practices
  • International sample of more than 1000 teachers
    and administrators
  • Significant differences in attitudes and beliefs
    about grading practices
  • For copies of the latest research, go to, click on Support, then
    click on Douglas Reeves presentations

  • 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 youre done.
  • We seldom use average for anything else except
  • Grades must never be used as punishment. It
    doesnt work!
  • Rewards for work done daily are far greater than
    punishment for work done late.
  • The Drivers License Test example chance to

Academic Corporal Punishment
  • Corporal Punishment - We liked it!
  • American Pediatric Society ruled it was
    ineffective and doesnt work in 1961.
  • Academic Corporal Punishment We like it!
  • Should we respond, Thats your opinion and well
    let you do it!

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 OConnor, 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 Alternatives
  • Toxic
  • Zeroes for missing work
  • Average/Mean
  • Grading Period Killer One Test or Project
  • Alternative
  • Get Er Done, Just Do It, complete/submit
    missing work
  • Best representation of work (Re-do, Re-submit)
  • Resilience, Personal Responsibility (Dont 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.
  • 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
  • 0, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 83 B
  • 50, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 92 A
  • 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
  • What purpose does it serve to use a zero to
    indicate a student failed to demonstrate mastery?
  • 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
  • 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

Using the 4.0 Grading Scale (Not Recommended)
  • 4.0 grading scale is an inaccuracy.
  • Using a zero in the previous example would also
    distort the final grade.
  • You must use 1.0 in place of zero as the
    failing and/or unscorable level on a 4.0 scale.
  • Using 1.0 as the bottom score will result in not
    distorting a students grade average based on one
    incomplete assignment or failed test.

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
  • Poor Teachers high expectations for students
    and much lower expectations for themselves. Also,
    unrealistically high expectations for everyone
    else (principal to be perfect, parents to be
    flawless, students to be perfect, and peers to
    hold them in incredibly high regard).
  • 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

  • Behavior
  • Students expected to behave
  • Students expected to follow/obey rules
  • Students expected to follow procedures
  • Zero tolerance
  • Misbehaving is not an option!
  • Academic
  • Students expected to complete/submit work?
  • Students expected to follow directions of the
  • Students expected to pass?
  • Zero Tolerance?
  • Failing is not an option!

Accurate Grading Policies Rick Stiggins
  • Determine grades using the median (middle grade)
    not the mean/average.
  • Look for the most consistent level of
    performance, not all performances.
  • We should not hold a students earlier
    digressions in the grading period or year against

Effective Grading Practices
-Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D.
  • To reduce failure rate, schools dont 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.
  • 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)
  • 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, Better School, Better Climate!
Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D
  • When grading policies improve, discipline and
    morale always improves!
  • 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
  • When was the last time a single change in a
    school accomplished all of that?

Students with Disabilities
  • ESE students are experts at
  • Disruptions
  • Avoiding tasks
  • Performing below expectations
  • Wouldnt you disrupt, avoid tasks, and perform
    below expectations if the grading policy was
    slanted against you?

Everyone who has a need to know about a
students performance in school certainly can be
told that she or he is a nice student who tries
hard, but they also have a right to know the
specific level of her or his knowledge in a
particular subject at a given point in
time. -----Ken OConnor
The Grade Book
  • Concepts NOT assignments!
  • Page 87 tells us nothing!
  • If concepts are listed in the grade book
  • Teachers can easily tell parents, students, and
    administrators what concepts are mastered.
  • IEP goals and objectives are easily written.
  • Incomplete grades can be given to individual
    concepts- helping to identify areas that need
    more instruction.

The ESE Teachers Grade Book
  • Grade books will list specific
  • Grade books will NOT list individual
    homework/class work assignments
  • Grade books will NOT include entries for effort,
    behavior, attendance or attitude.

What should NOT be included in a grade?
  • Effort
  • Participation
  • Attitude
  • Behavior
  • Homework
  • Group work

What is the point of homework?
Zero and the ESE Student
  • Are you saying that the ESE 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
  • Can you achieve mastery by doing page 87 numbers
    1-24 even?

Re-Do, Re-Take, Re-Test, Re-Submit!
  • The consequence for a student who fails to
    meet a standard is not a low grade but rather the
    opportunityindeed, the requirementto resubmit
    his or her work.
  • -- Douglas Reeves

Re-Teaching and Re-Testing
  • In Class re-teaching/retesting
  • After School re-teaching Extra Help
  • Lunch/Recess re-teaching Extra Help
  • Student Accountability
  • Builds Positive Relationships with

  • What information provides the most accurate
    depiction of students learning at this time? In
    nearly all cases, the answer is the most current
  • If students demonstrate that past assessment
    information no longer accurately reflects their
    learning, that information must be dropped and
    replaced by the new information.
  • --Guskey

Final Exams
  • Final Exam organized and graded by concept (all
    concepts for the quarter)
  • Final Exam serves as last retest opportunity
  • Scores on Final Exam, if higher, will replace
    previously recorded scores
  • Overall Final Exam score entered in grade book as
    a single entry (as if it were a concept)

  • If the idea is concept mastery, why do we assign
    timed tasks?
  • Why do we require 25 correct demonstrations of
    the required task?
  • Wouldnt it make sense to chunk the work into
    parts and re-teach after each part?
  • When the student demonstrates mastery, assess the
    concept formally.

  • The use of an I or Incomplete grade is an
    alternative to assigning zeros that is both
    educationally sound and potentially quite
  • --Guskey Bailey

  • I Contracts- for both individual concepts and
    final grades.
  • Should clearly outline the desired learning
  • Should allow time for re-teaching.
  • Communication with parents, students, and

  • Grading 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
  • _____ 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.

ESE Grading Policy
  • Grades will be based upon STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
  • Grades will be based upon MASTERY OF CONCEPTS AND
  • Students should have MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES to
    demonstrate mastery

  • OConnor, A Repair Kit for Grading  15 Fixes
    Broken Grades 
  • How to Grade for Learning
  • Marzano, Assessment and Grading that Works
  • Guskey, Practical Solutions for Serious
    Problems in Standards-Based Grading

Discipline and Grading Practices/Student
  • Do you want to be right or do you want to solve
    the problem?
  • -Dr. Phil

Research Based Findings
  • (Gettinger, 1988) analyzed well-managed
    classrooms that functioned smoothly with few
    disruptions and were well organized.
  • He then analyzed less effective classrooms that
    experienced frequent disruptions due to a large
    amount of time spent on discipline and
    transitions that were lengthy and chaotic.
  • Gettinger expected to find that the teachers of
    the well-managed classrooms would possess more
    effective disciplinary techniques.  Surprisingly,
    he found that both were approximately equal in
    dealing with student misbehavior. The variance
    was that the successful classroom managers were
    more efficient at minimizing behavioral problems
    by intervening before the misbehavior escalated.

Volusia Countys Approach To Classroom Management
  • CHAMPs assists classroom teachers to design (or
    fine tune) a proactive and positive classroom
    management plan that will overtly teach students
    how to behave responsibly. Easy implementation of
    the strategies in the CHAMPs will Reduce
    classroom disruptions and office referrals
    Improve classroom climate Increase student
    on-task behavior Establish respectful and civil
    interactionsBy following the effective,
    research-based practices outlined in CHAMPs,
    teachers develop methods for clearly
    communicating their expectations on every
    classroom activity and transition. Expectations
    to clarify areConversation (Can students talk
    to each other during this activity?)Help (How
    do students get the teachers attention and their
    questions answered?)Activity (What is the
    task/objective? What is the end
    product?)Movement (Can students move about
    during this activity?)Participation (How do
    students show they are fully participating? What
    does work behavior look/sound like?)

    (Sprick, Garrison, and
    Howard 1998)

Our Teachers Deal with the Following Behaviors in
the Classroom
  • Class or school rule violation
  • Disruption or disturbance of a school activity
  • Dress code violation
  • False document
  • Horseplay
  • Minor disruption or disturbance of a school
    activity, class or campus
  • Tardiness
  • All level one offenses in the student code of

DeLand Middle School Improvement Goal
  • 2008-2009 - to decrease the percentage of
    referrals for Male Students
  • One strategy - the implementation of an I
    (Incomplete) vs. an F (Failure)

I (Incomplete) vs. F (Failure) and its
Impact on Discipline
  • Teachers assign an I (incomplete) vs. an F
  • This positive approach to grading elevates
    students self worth and gives the student a
    feeling of success that many have never felt.
  • Many behaviors are avoidance driven, and this
    approach to grading eliminates many of the
    behaviors students use to avoid looking inferior
    to their peers, thereby decreasing classroom
    misbehaviors and increasing student achievement
  • This, along with effective classroom management
    are key to a students success

(No Transcript)
Percentage Change from 2007-2008 to 2008-2009 for
the Target Group
  • 2007-2008 - Male students represented 73.3 of
    referrals written at DeLand Middle School
  • 2008-2009 - Male students represented 62.5 of
    referrals written at DeLand Middle School
  • This represents a 10.8 decrease