Questions and Answers
Why did we need a new grading system?
The new grading system provides accurate communication about the progress made toward specific learning standards. The standards for Texas schools are the TEKS. In each class there are essential elements that must be learned to master that content. We are now basing grades on evidence of learning.
Does this grading system help students?
This grading system holds both the teacher and the student accountable for learning the standards. The expectation of what is to be covered is clearly defined in the TEKS and the assessment process has been extended to allow students to continue working on things they have not learned yet, even after moving to the next concept. There is a consistent structure in place for addressing student needs. If it is a learning issue, the student works with the teacher to increase learning skills. If it is a behavior issue (not turning in work) the student works with their administrator to develop better work habits. The option of not working has been removed.
Why is there no longer a grade reduction for late work?
The system’s goal is to measure what a student knows and understands. While meeting deadlines and turning in assignments on time is a desirable behavior, it does not determine whether or not a student knows the content. Turning in late work is a behavior and will be addressed as a behavior issue. At McMath, we have the student come in after school to work on the assignment until it is completed and can be assessed by the teacher.
Why are students allowed to retake tests/exams and get full value on these reassessments?
A student’s grade should reflect his/her mastery of the content. Allowing students to retake an exam or test, lets students reflect on what they have learned and demonstrate their increase in knowledge of the content covered. As you have probably heard many times, it does not matter as much WHEN the student learns something as it does that the student does LEARN something. If they know 100% of the standard, they should get 100% credit for knowing it.
Are students able to retake any exam or test whenever they want?
Before retesting, a student needs to provide evidence that new learning has happened since the last test. Otherwise, it is just a game of chance, "I'll keep trying until I hit the lucky combination".
The teachers have multiple options for relearning that may be offered depending upon the individual situation. For example:
*watching assigned videos
*reading assignments with notes
*corrections and justifications
*oral testing with the teacher
Why are zeroes no longer being used to indicate missing/incomplete work?
Using zeroes for missing or incomplete work gives an inaccurate reflection of a student’s knowledge of the learning standards. Lots of very bright capable kids have chosen to just not do the work although they may know the material. We are no longer allowing that behavior to go unaddressed. They have to provide evidence of learning to the teacher. Codes are now entered for incompletes and missing work. Parents can find this information in HAC.
If you are having trouble using HAC, Mrs. Bradley is available to help you just call 369-3313 ... she is very kind :)
Why is homework no longer assigned/graded?
Homework may be given in some classes where practice is needed to develop concepts. Math is a good example of a class built on skill development. One way we have been explaining the role of homework and other learning activities is by using a Football analogy.
Think of the typical high school football team. They practice Mon-Thurs. They do drills, they learn plays, they work on strength and stamina, all things needed to be able to win the game. These are formative actvities. All these skills come together on game day. Summative Assessments are game days. You go out and use everything you learned to get the best score (grade) possible and that score is entered into the record (grade book). If you did not get a good score, you determine where the weakness is and work to strengthen that area (more offensive drills, practice kicking, whatever you need) and you go out again and play another game.
You don't get a score (grade) for the formative lessons, but you do get coaching (feedback).
We are working to develop our descriptive feedback skills so the students always know where they are in the learning process. This feedback process is one of our areas of focus this year.
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