Monday, July 8, 2013

I've been away a long time...almost a year! I've been busy...but posting here has taken a back seat.
I've completed "change plan part 1" and "change plan part 2", and am now working on "change plan final".
I'm so excited that Dr. Tom Guskey is going to be here in Harlem this week! I'm so looking forward to learning from him.

Here is my focus statement so far:

Grading and grade reporting are a way of life in schools. Using grades as a way of reporting or assessing value or progress has also become embedded into our entire society as well. Many of us have seen grades or GPA being used as a way of determining the value of a person or as a status symbol: “My daughter is an honor roll student at ABC Middle School” bumper stickers,  “My son has a 4.0 GPA”, are bragging rights of proud parents. We see this thinking occurring in television advertisements and in news articles as well; grades are assigned to something (A, B, C, D, F) as a way to let us know and understand its value. And who among us doesn’t know what “A” means? Excellence, perfection (“A+”!!), something to which we aspire in so many facets of our lives. However, do we really know what those letter grades mean when reporting academic progress to students and parents? We know that most students (and parents) want that A, but what does that A mean (or C, or F)? A 9th grade Biology class that is taught by 5 different faculty members in one high school can have different course syllabi, different weights for grades, and different assignments, which can ultimately result in two students ending a term with the same set of knowledge and skills, and yet with very different course grades.

The goal of this change plan is to examine best practice in the areas of assessment, grading and grade reporting with a group of teacher leaders, and then to develop a longitudinal plan for changing practice and philosophy district-wide. This process is intended to build foundational knowledge and understanding of current best practice in assessment, grading and grade reporting, and will provide a more consistently applied process for evaluating and reporting student progress.

Will this change after meeting with Dr. Guskey this week? I know there will be LOTS to think about!