Below is the rubric I use which I got from Jessica:
And here the simpler explanations that I have hanging on the wall:
So the kids take an assessment that's broken apart into skills. When I grade it, initially I mark things how I alway have. I'll mark things that are incorrect, put in little notes and such. I also try to give the best feedback I can. This takes some time. I try to put thought into it. Assigning points is where the change is. The points game is gone. There's no trying to decide whether the kid deserves 1/2 credit or maybe 3/4 credit. When I'm making a quiz I don't have to try to figure out whether the question should be a 1 or 2 pointer.
All I have to do is look over the entire section and determine how well the kid gets it. The more that I graded, the easier this part got. And typically when in doubt, choose the lower grade. If I'm questioning it, then it means the kid didn't completely sell me on the higher score. I don't feel bad giving them a lower score because they can always improve it.
The way I think about the grades in my head is like so:
- 0 --> Wrote down nothing on the paper
- 1 --> Wrote down something slightly intelligent on the paper. Totally off track and wrong, but did something. Recopying the problem or circling something doesn't count. Neither does writing "IDK".
- 2 --> Their answer was somewhat on the right track. Definitely still wrong but the kid at least knows something.
- 3 --> On the right track for sure. They have most of the idea down, but there's still some gap in their understanding.
- 3.5 --> Pretty much all correct except for something minor. I call the 3.5 me being picky.
The biggest jump for me is from a 2 to a 3. For me a 3 needs to show that the pretty much have the idea down but a 2 is pretty seriously misunderstanding the topic. Because of that, I'm much more likely to err on the side of caution and give them the 2 when in doubt. There is also a pretty significant point jump from a 0 to a 1 just to encourage students to try. I have issues with kids just leaving things blank and not even trying so offering them points for trying really gives them that push to write something down. And since my goal is to get an idea of what they know, them writing down something that's even totally off track is way more useful to me than a blank paper.
A 4 means pretty much perfect and the only way to get a 5 is to get two 4's. This makes for a decent amount of work because I need to make sure to reassess each skill a couple times but I like the idea behind it a lot. To really earn that 100 they not only have to show me once that they got it, but they needed to show that they retained it for at least some amount of time. Something I'm thinking about is making only the last assessment capable of bumping 4's to 5. So the only way to get the full score would be not to retain it for some amount of time, but to retain it until the end of the marking period. There could be and probably are holes in this idea..but I think it could be interesting to consider.
My school uses a traditional grading scale so I chose a conversion for each score. Using the percentages out of 5 definitely wouldn't have worked because it didn't make sense. A 3 means the kid understood it decently well but a 3/5 isn't even a passing grade. So I chose the scores that I thought made sense. This is all relative though so choose things that make sense for you. In addition, I have it set up so that a new grade will entirely replace an old grade. Also their grades in the gradebook do not go down. These are also both things that seem to differ with each person. Again it's personal so pick something that's right for you. I plan to explain later the reasons behind why I chose to do what I do.
Overall, I love this switch so much. I seriously can't say enough good things about it. Their grades actually mean something and that makes such a difference. When I hand back a quiz there's no question of "What did I get?" or "Did I fail?" because they don't get just one grade. They can't look at a score and then just throw it away. They have to look at each individual skill and can see where they stand. When I'm grading I don't get upset or frustrated anymore if everyone bombs something, I just make a point to note that they still need work in that area. My gradebook is also way more useful than it used to be. I enter each skill as a separate grade and my gradebook program displays the averages at the bottom so I can do a quick glance and easily pick out the weakest or strongest topics.