A large committee of teachers and administrators at the Turlock Unified School District are rethinking the way they grade students.
Educators participate in a book study, “Grading for Equity- What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms.”
Author Joe Feldman met with the reading group and made a compelling case for change and offered teachers specific ways to make deep differences in their grading practices, according to the director of curriculum and instruction. from TUSD, Shellie Santos.
Based on what they read, teachers implement some of the practices and share the results in their monthly reading group.
âWith traditional grading, teachers often assign grades to students based on homework, tests, projects, assignments and activities in class, as well as participation, effort, and behavior. There is significant subjectivity when evaluating non-academic categories, âSantos said. âFair grading is used to ensure that grades accurately reflect a student’s academic performance. The grade describes a student’s level of academic proficiency. Homework, behavior, etc. are not taken into account in a note.
While traditional grading uses a 0-100% scale, fair grading uses a 0-50% scale or 0-4 scale. According to Santos, research shows that teachers rate behaviors based on their interpretation. subjective behavior, which the author describes as âa recipe for inequityâ.
TUSD aims to implement fair grading to help students achieve success and better understand what they are learning.
âOur goal is to bring consistency to TUSD scoring practices that are both accurate and fair to students. We want students to know what they are learning, where they are currently in their learning and what they need to do to close the gap, âSantos said.
The district also wants grades to stop being used as a means of punishing or inciting students.
âWe want fair practices that provide students and families with an accurate assessment of a student’s academic performance,â Santos said. âThe belief is that grades should not be used to punish or induce students to complete tasks, but rather as a means of measuring their understanding. “