The SBG bus stop in central Taiwan is yet to be established. At least it hasn’t pulled up at my school and it seems as if I’m constantly trying to break new ground without much support. I’ve been asked to write up a couple of paragraphs about my grading policy to show that there is school support behind the idea and that I’m not being a renegade. So, here goes my first attempt – any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I see a potential audience being the weekly school newsletter – a random email that I wrote earlier in the year somehow found its way to the newsletter so I’m a bit more guarded now.
As a teacher, I am sometimes asked what guides the units and design of my class. Our school adopted a set of standards that drive curricular goals. Units are created by deciding what are the basic skills of the material (what I consider to be a Level 3) and what are the main concepts and ideas (Level 4). I then build lessons to provide students with experiences to construct their understanding of the topic.
For me, assessments are a form of communication between teachers, students and parents. I believe that my assessment system should be one of multiple ways that we can talk about a student’s understanding of concepts. Therefore, my feedback needs to be directly related to a student’s progress on the topics. In the same way that I divide standards into basic skills and concepts, my grading system is designed to provide information on how a student is doing on each skill and concept. Feedback lets students know if they have shown understanding on Level 3 and Level 4 concepts. Level 1 indicates that the student has not provided any work on a skill or concept while Level 2 indicates that the student is progressing but needs some work to explain an idea. On the other end, a Level 5 indicates that a student has moved beyond what we are directly discussing in class and can apply his or her understanding to more challenging scenarios.
Is homework a necessary part of a student’s performance? Homework can be beneficial to student improvement though it does not factor into the grade of the student. It is time to practice, to put thoughts together and to develop questions. It is not part of a grade.
That’s it in a few paragraphs. What have I missed?