Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SBG - first opinions from admin

I had a meeting with my administrator sometime mid-spring semester and asked her if she would support me through implementing standards-based grading in my classroom. She gave the approval for me to go forward with planning based on what she knew of it. The plan that I posted here was the first write up of what I informally presented to her two days ago. I added a few details but the bulk of what I wrote stayed the same. She did not require that I keep her updated, but I have found over my years that it makes life much easier if you keep your administrator in the loop.

Anyway, so I unveiled the plan and I got three questions in return:
1. How do you plan to communicate the plan and its benefits to parents and students?
2. What do you expect will happen to the distribution of grades? More As, Fs? Stay the same?
3. How can you make re-assessment more mandatory and less invitational?

I had a response for the first two, but the third one threw me for a loop. I don't have anything in place to make sure the students reassess. At this point, it is up to the student to reassess if they want to. They don't have to. Aside from staying after school (which isn't an option because I am coaching fall and springs sports) or coming in early (which very few students are willing to do)...I don't know what to do.

So that is where I am at with the process right now. I am thinking about how to make the process less-invitational. I hope to come up with a plan (or "acquire" a plan hehe) that doesn't require me to spend countless more hours at the school building. Maybe an in-class arrangement? I dunno...


  1. I make tutorials and such mandatory if a student falls below a certain level. I think Julie Reulbach blogged about it. Robyn Jackson called it a red flag system. If you google it you should find an ASCD article. Nutshell: Establish a few trigger points. If student falls below X, they get something minor. Like a HW packet or some reading or internet resources. If that doesn't work, then they have mandatory tutorials. You assess out of them. Of course, the ideal is that now you hopefully have enough info to remediate in class and also that the students can now identify their own weaknesses and can remediate themselves with all your awesome other access points.... but that's a lofty goal.

    The idea is that if you're falling behind, that's fine, here's some stuff that you can do on your own time to help you. If it doesn't work, then I'm going to step in and help until you don't need it anymore.

  2. Thanks for the comment Jason. So what do you do with the extra stuff (hw packet, etc...)? Do you provide feedback on it? Just check to see they did it before they can reassess? Is that kinda like their "ticket" to reassess? If so....how do you keep up with it?

  3. 1) Start off the year with a letter to all parents (we are a residential school so I don't see parents that much). I usually ask for email addresses when I send home info about the course and myself (I would include the letter as well). Once I get email, I will send email the letter explaining SBGs again with an extra note emphasizing the changes that would be challenging, but beneficial in the long run.

    2) For me, I have a challenging student body, so I imagine that the student grades would fall somewhat and actually be more in line with scores on state testing.

    3) That's a toughie-- I'd have to think on that some, but right now, I think I'd say I wouldn't. I have always believed you can't force a student to do work if they don't want to - a lot of student success is intrinsically(sp?) motivated. There could be a level that comes with a red flag to indicate to the student and/or parent that there is work to be done. But beyond that, if a student doesn't care, there's not much a/any teacher can do.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Harry. I also tend to agree with your #3 but I'm not sure how to present that in a way that is agreeable to the powers above me. I would have to come up with that "red flag" level and make it concrete. And my guess is that I would eventually have to make something mandatory past that level, as well. Otherwise I don't think they'll go for it.