Writing Statements to Describe Grading Policies

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  • 0:01 Grading in the Classroom
  • 1:07 Adherence to Standards
  • 1:39 Graded & Weighted
  • 2:58 Logistics
  • 4:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson lays out guidelines to follow when writing grading policies. It focuses on adherence to standards, grade weighting, offering answers in advance, and defining activities to be graded.

Grading in the Classroom

Most of us haven't been given a letter grade since our classroom years. As adults, our bosses don't hand back our reports with one of the letters 'A' through 'F' scribbled at the top. Instead, meetings are held, and conferences are had. Areas that need improvement are highlighted, and areas that hit the mark are saluted. In this way, we know what is expected of us and we are prepared to get our jobs done.

Sadly, this is not how it always goes in education. Despite recent leaps taken to improve the educational system within our country, some teachers are still merely scribbling down an arbitrary 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' 'D,' or 'F' with little adherence to any sort of solid grading policy. With this, students are left in the dark and educational progress is halted.

To combat this, today's lesson will take a look at some guidelines that every educator should take into account when developing a grading policy. Of course, there are many, many, many things to consider when it comes to grades, but for the sake of time, we'll hit on a few that are usually deemed the most necessary.

Adherence to Standards

First and rather obvious, grading policies must adhere to district standards. To put a colloquial twist on this one, make sure your grading statements and practices match what the big wigs have decided on. If your district mandates that an 'A' begins at 93%, then your written grading statement should include this information. If the top of the food chain directs that alternative assessments are to be used in place of traditional assessments, then your grading policy must also follow suit. To refuse would only serve to confuse, even frustrate, your students.

Graded & Weighted

Second, grading policies must differentiate between what is graded and what is not. In other words, they must answer the age-old student question, 'Is this gonna count?' For instance, if formative assessments factor into your grading, students need to know. Speaking simply, these are tools used to monitor student progress during instruction, things like classroom discussions or journal entries. If these count, then your grading policies must be written to reflect this. There is no room for surprise when it comes to the grade book.

Along the same lines, grading policies must include a weighting system. They can't just say what counts, they need to say how much it counts. Familiar to most, this is known as weighing, or assigning higher value to certain graded activities. For example, some educators believe traditional assessments are the most important tools in their evaluation toolbox. Therefore, tests and quizzes make up 75% of their final grades, while things like class participation, homework, and writing prompts are left to share the remaining 25%. Others feel the opposite.

To say the least, there are many differing opinions on how activities should be weighted. However, despite whether you are traditional assessment gal or an alternative assessment guy, one thing remains - your grading policy must include your weighting system.

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