One hundred years, No research to support.
Traditional grading practices have been used for over one hundred years, and to date, there have been no meaningful research reports to support it (Marzano, 2000). In an era of data-driven decision making, that’s critical to note. Most teachers have not received adequate training in reliable and valid assessment methods in their teacher preparation and often default to the way they saw their teachers grade when they were in school. As a result, grading practices may vary widely from teacher to teacher (Reeves, 2004) based on style, preference, and opinions and without a research-driven rationale (Cox, 2011; Guskey & Bailey, 2001; Zoeckler, 2007). Contributing to this irregularity is the fact that many schools lack a specific, unified grading policy for teachers (O’Connor, 2009). Parents of students today were also graded using traditional methods (we all were) and thus this wildly inconsistent way of communicating achievement and growth of students has been entrenched and accepted in the way we think about schooling.
The absence of research supporting traditional grading practices is concerning. As schools continue to adopt a standards-based approach to teaching, learning, and assessment, it is critical to understand the research literature on the topic. The purpose of this primer is to provide an overview of the research literature on the topic of standards-based grading.
Matt Townsley, and Tom Buckmiller, Ph.D.l art
Link to full article below.
I happened upon this article in the Twitterverse this morning, and I decided to share it in attempt to show that though I may be crazy, I am not alone. Indeed. And crazy, like misery, loves company.
Okay, I am taking a radical–maybe crazy–step with the A approach. I get that. But I feel that anything less may not really bring the necessary attention to the issue of grading reform in education, so I am seeking attention, and I believe I’ll get it. Of course, as I like to say, “If you call attention to yourself, you better be prepared to deal with it.” And while I certainly do not have all the answers for all the questions, I do feel I am prepared for the attention I anticipate for the next two years.
Anticipated Objection #5: There’s no research to support what you are doing.
Reasoned Response #5: Well, there is, but I’ll get to that in a second. First, let me commit a logical fallacy, Argumentum ad Ignorantiam (appeal to ignorance), which aims to prove that something is false simply because it has not been proven to be true. Point of fact, there is no evidence to support traditional grading practices, but it remains nearly universally accepted and practiced in public education. But my approach will be immediately called into question for having no backing, and it will be summarily dismissed as such. But. And this is the big but here, folks, standards-based grading (SBG) does have some meaningful backing, and ultimately that is where I am heading, have been heading for some time now.
I have been practicing SBG for nearly five years–well, to varying degrees anyway. I tried to go “all in” five years ago but found it to be frustratingly difficult as I tried to make it fit the traditional system at report card time, so I abandoned the full-meal deal, keeping and practicing tidbits here and there, such as no-zeros and retakes, all the while trying to develop the capacity to try it again. Thus, my present approach. The giving an A thing is not a component of SBG, but it does take traditional grading off the table, liberating me to truly dig into SBG. I do not plan to give A’s for the next twenty years, but I do plan to force change, a change to a more meaningful approach such as standards-based. Much will depend on what happens over the next two years in regards to where I will go after, and while I’d like to see some great change come about sooner than later, I know how things work in education, so it is likely that I will be giving A’s longer than I anticipate. We’ll see in two years.
There’s no denying that the status quo carries a lot of weight, and it will be a hefty opponent in the ring. But other contenders are gaining weight and form and soon will be less hard to knock around. I am just trying to do my part from my corner of the ring. And as I prepare the big day, I look forward to the sparring matches I encounter along the way.
Happy Tuesday, all.