Saturday, August 10, 2013

Old versus New....the Impetus for Change

Disclaimer: This blog is part of a series that summarizes and discusses the book "Developing Grading & Reporting Systems for Student Learning" by Thomas R. Guskey & Jane M. Bailey. Please consider reading the whole book....these are just my thoughts on the text....

Chapter 1: Defining the Impetus for Change
Chapter 1 really sets the stage for what is going to come in the book. We all know that change isn't easy, especially in education but part of our responsibility as a professional educator is to grade which the book points out is an "exercise in professional judgement."

The book outlines five different "developments that make change in grading and reporting systems imperative." Keep in mind that this book was actually written in 2001 (but still very timely) so hence the lack of discussion of modern education movements such as common core.

"1. The Growing emphasis on standards & performance assessments that makes current reporting practices inadequate.

2. Parents & community members are demanding more and better information about student learning progress.

3. Advances in technology allow for more efficient reporting of detailed information on student learning.

4. Grading and reporting are recognized as one of educators most important responsibilities.

5. There is growing awareness of the gap between our knowledge base and common practice in grading and reporting.

The book talks also about "Standards for Teacher Competence" which is not something that I had given much thought to but it presents a few standards from a publication called Standards for Teacher Competence in Educational Assessment of Students from 1990. There are two standards that the book brings up. One is standard 5 which states "Teachers should be skilled in developing valid pupil grading procedures which use pupil assessments." Teachers need to be prepared to know how to combine various sources of information to generate grades that reflect the students performance in their class and on the assigned tasks. Standard 6 states "Teachers should be skilled at communicating assessment results to students, parents, other lay audiences, and other educators," Standard 6 calls for teachers not only to have a knowledge of assessment results but how to also communicate them.

The goal of the book is to help teachers be successful at grading and assessment. There is some interesting reading in chapter 1 including a personal reflection from the authors, ideas about teachers, students, and parents perceptions on grading and reporting. There is also a very interesting section on "The Points-Driven Academic Economy of Classrooms" that is a few good paragraphs worth of reading. Ultimately there is a lot of perceptions on grading and reporting between the various groups of stakeholders. The book highly recommends from the very beginning this concept: "Multifaceted reporting systems that include a collection of reporting tools to satisfy the diverse information needs of teachers, students, parents, and other interested persons present the best and most practical solution to these challenging communication problems." ("Developing Grading & Reporting Systems for Student Learning" by Thomas R. Guskey & Jane M. Bailey, pg. 23)

So get ready because its time to start to figure this whole thing out! 

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