Overheads for Unit 11--Chapter 15 (Grading and Reporting)



OH 1
The Challenge


To provide results

The big questions

  1. What should I count—just achievement, or effort too?
  2. How do I interpret a student’s score? Do I compare it to:

·        other students’ scores (norm-referenced),

·        a standard of what they can do (criterion-referenced),

·        or some estimate of what they are able to do (learning potential, or self-referenced)?

  1. What should my distribution of grades be, and how do I determine it?
  2. How do I display student progress, or strengths and weaknesses, to students and their parents?

Where do I get the answers?

OH 2
Functions of Grading and Reporting Systems

  1. Improve students’ learning by:

Best achieved by:

  • day-to-day tests and feedback
  • plus periodic integrated summaries

  1. Reports to parents/guardians
  1. Administrative and guidance uses

OH 3
Types of Grading and Reporting Systems

  1. Traditional letter-grade system

  1. Pass-fail
  1. Checklists of objectives
  1. Letters to parents/guardians
  1. Portfolios
  1. Parent-teacher conferences



OH 4
Systems with Multiple Forms of Grading and Reporting


They’re a good idea

How should you develop one?  The system should be:

  1. Guided by the functions to be served
  2. Developed cooperatively (parents, students, school personnel)

·        more adequate system

·        more understandable to all

  1. Based on clear statement of learning objectives

·        are the same objectives that guided instruction and assessment

·        some are general, some are course-specific

·        aim is to report progress on those objectives

·        practicalities may impose limits, but should always keep the focus on objectives

  1. Consistent with school standards

·        should support, not undermine, school standards

·        should use the school’s categories for grades and performance standards

·        should actually measure what is described in those standards

  1. Based on adequate assessment

·        implication: don’t promise something you cannot deliver

·        design a system for which you can get reliable, valid data

  1. Based on the right level of detail
  1. Providing for parent-teacher conferences as needed

·        regularly scheduled for elementary school

·        as needed for high school



OH 5
Assigning Letter Grades

What to include?

How to combine data?

What frame of reference?

What distribution of grades?


OH 6
Guidelines for Effective Grading

  1. Describe grading procedures to students at beginning of instruction.
  2. Clarify that course grade will be based on achievement only.
  3. Explain how other factors (effort, work habits, etc.) will be reported.
  4. Relate grading procedures to intended learning outcomes.
  5. Obtain valid evidence (tests, etc.) for assigning grades.
  6. Try to prevent cheating.
  7. Return and review all test results as soon as possible.
  8. Properly weight the various types of achievements included in the grade.
  9. Do not lower an achievement grade for tardiness, weak effort, or misbehavior.
  10. Be fair. Avoid bias. When in doubt, review the evidence. If still in doubt, give the higher grade.


OH 7
Conducting Parent-Teacher Conferences

Productive when:

Guidelines for a good conference

  1. Make plans
  1. Start positive—and maintain a positive focus
  2. Present student’s strong points first

·        Helpful to have example of work to show strengths and needs

·        Compare early vs. later work to show improvement

  1. Encourage parents to participate and share information

·        Be willing to listen

·        Be willing to answer questions

  1. Plan actions cooperatively

·        What steps you can each take

·        Summarize at the end

  1. End with positive comment

·        Should not be a vague generality

·        Should be true

  1. Use good human relations skills


·        Be friendly and informal

·        Be positive in approach

·        Be willing to explain in understandable terms

·        Be willing to listen

·        Be willing to accept parents’ feelings

·        Be careful about giving advice



·        Argue, get angry

·        Ask embarrassing questions

·        Talk about other students, parents, teachers

·        Bluff if you don’t know

·        Reject parents’ suggestions

·        Be a know-it-all with pat answers



OH 8
Reporting Standardized Test Results to Parents




  1. Describe what the test measures
  1. Explain meaning of test scores (chapter 19 devoted to this)
  1. Clarify accuracy of scores
    1. Say all tests have error
    2. Stanines already take account of error (because so broad). Two stanine difference is probably a real difference
    3. For other scores, use confidence bands when presenting them
    4. If you refer to subscales with few items, describe them as only “clues” and look for related evidence.
    1. Discuss use of test results
      • Coordinate all information to show what action they suggest


OH 9
Decisions in Assigning Grades

  1. What should grades include (effort, achievement, neatness, spelling, good behavior, etc.)?

  2. Grades for individual assessments
    1. criterion-reference or norm-referenced?
      • if criterion-referenced, what standard?
      • if norm-referenced, what reference group?
    2. letter grades or numbers?

  3. Combining assessments for a composite grade
    1. what common numerical scale?
      • percentages
      • standard scores
      • range of scores (max-min)
      • combining absolute and relative grades
    2. weight to give different assessments?
    3. what cut-off points for letter grades?