Getting kids and parents to focus on the learning–the grade will come. Trust me.

Open House idea. I’m trying to think of a subtle way to impress upon parents that the focus is on the learning not on the grade. Maybe for some the focus is on the grade. However I think parents and students would agree that if we focus on the learning the grade will come.

Since I’m bored, I created two GoAnimate videos that I might use at Open House.  The first is a 30 second discussion about grades.

This one is less than a minute long and focuses on the learning.

This will lead into a nice segue where I can talk about the success students had  last year when they set goals and monitored their progress. I constantly tweak this document so you may notice that it’s not exactly like what’s represented in the image below. Maybe I’ll show the parents what progress monitoring looks like.

progress monitoring
This student needed to be assessed 3 times before she achieved mastery. As you can see the student was honest with respect to the amount of effort she put forth.

My assessments are designed in a standards based grading format (that’s why you see Scores 1-4). Students set a goal of either 3.0, 3.5 or 4.0. Three is the target. My formative assessments are ongoing and students can reassess as long as they complete and follow through on a study plan which is their evidence of study.

I cringe when I hear, “What can I do to raise my grade?” or, “Is there extra credit?”

I want to work with parents and students to reframe those questions to be more like, “What can I do to improve?”

Maybe Open House is the place to start.

2 thoughts on “Getting kids and parents to focus on the learning–the grade will come. Trust me.

  1. I recently discovered your blog and am very pleased that I did. I’m an English teacher and now in year three of my SBG journey. Thank you for your honest, passionate, and informative posts. I spent one year without giving grades, allowing my students to choose their own grades based on feedback, and since then I’ve been developing a hybrid of SBG. Rumor is that my district is moving to SBG in a couple of years, but like you, I’m focusing on changing how students and parents perceive learning and assessment. Being one of the few rogues in my district, it’s tempting to return the old system, but I’m confident that by taking a non-traditional approach to grading, my students and their parents see what’s most important to me as an educator.

    1. One of the eighth grade literature teachers in my building is having students self report their grades. She’s following Mike Barnes’ book Role Reversal

      What you are doing is important work. The conversation needs to be about learning. It’s a subtle, but distinct shift. Some parents and educators think it is about the grade, but they are putting the cart before the horse.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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