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March 2, 2023/
Categories: Grading and Reporting
In our post-COVID world, New Hampshire educators in schools around the state have been heavily engaged in conversations over the need for grading practices reform. The global pandemic highlighted a […]
In our post-COVID world, New Hampshire educators in schools around the state have been heavily engaged in conversations over the need for grading practices reform. The global pandemic highlighted a number of shortcomings in schools, including the ways in which educators collect evidence of learning and report progress to students and families – grading practices are needed that support deeper learning and equity to promote high levels of achievement for all. Competency-based grading shifts students’ mindsets from “getting it done” to “How well did I show what I know”.
To do this, educators must change their thinking… and recognize that “the way things have always been” may not be good enough any more. To engage in this work takes courage and an open mind, but educators should know that it is supported by a large body of research. The New Hampshire Learning Initiative urges educators to consider the following key points when making grading decisions:
We applaud the educators in NH and across the country who are transforming the way they provide feedback to learners. It is a big shift from a traditional grading system that focuses more on the management of grading then the progress of learners.
The shift to a competency-based learning system is a challenge; a focus on the learner means more attention to students as individuals. This may mean shifting classroom and instructional practices to the development of new plans and strategies. Teachers, with their colleagues, may need to create new units and curriculum reflective of student interest and choice, to impact student engagement.
For grading and reporting to be accurate, student engagement and self-direction are key. Curriculum and instruction need to lift student engagement. Emphasizing that a student needs to demonstrate competency and to improve their performance is so important to building a sense of the value of learning. If what we ask students to learn is important, we want them to be truly competent enough to apply it going forward.
There exists a tremendous body of research to support grading reform. We urge educators to consult the work of experts such as Susan Brookhart, Thomas Guskey, Lea Ann Jung, Robert Marzano, Ken O’Connor, Doug Reeves, and Rick Wormeli. Additionally, Dr. Matthew Townsley, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Coordinator, EdD Ed Lead ISA at the University of Northern Iowa maintains a comprehensive list of articles related to grading reform principles. Many are published in peer-reviewed journals.
Earlier this fall, the New Hampshire Learning Initiative hosted a three-part virtual series of workshops with Brian M. Stack, Director of Innovative Projects. These workshops were at no cost and focused on the following three objectives:
NHLI is planning to offer another grading workshop series at no cost this spring. You can see all our professional development offerings by clicking here.