Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Day 107 - I still don't give enough feedback

More conversations about grading today after school.  Back when my school had more money             (School Improvement Grant) we had some time to get into grading for learning and had a few visits from an"expert" in the field of impactful grading.   As noticed by the Principal, it seems the school is sliding back into old practices and thinking around grading- things like extra credit, zeros, having kids redo whole courses when they could maybe have redone a few units or showed their learning in other ways.  These practices keep the students buried and it keeps them from loving learning and understanding learning is a process.
Today I realized that as much as I focus on wanting standards based grading and to come up with the perfect grading system for our school - I don't know how much it will help. At least not with the thinking that exists now.  The grading system really doesn't matter.  It is the thinking behind grades that matters.  Thinking from the teacher and the student.  Growth, growth, growth!!!!  The more explicit we teachers are with want we want the kids to be able to do and to know, the more able students are able to show success and know when they are growing and getting it right.
But how do you do this and make it cookie cutter for 2000 students?  You don't.  You can't. Grading itself, is subjective - even though people think it is not.
The Principal talked about feedback today, and this is not a new mention but the reminder is sooo important.  Grades make teachers think we are giving feedback.  But a letter grade on something is not feedback. A student only knows "I suck", I'm average" or "I'm good".  They think about and internalize the rating and not what it was that they learned or what they need to improve upon.
"The simplest prescription for improving education must be ‘dollops of feedback’.” -Classroom Assessment & Grading that Work - Robert J. Marzano (2006)
Seeing a school as big as mine, I think Marzano would say" its time to teach teachers how to give feedback- that isn't grades".
My district is trying to do that -- but I think they , like the teachers, need to be more explicit about this.  Just saying "formative assessment", isn't good enough. Teachers need to be taught multiple new ways of doing this. And with technology, it can be even more immediate.....

A-ha:  I still don't give enough feedback.

Reminder: Give more feedback. Use socrative!!!

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