This developmental evaluation used multiple methods to evaluate the implementation of a grading reform initiated by two math teachers in a large traditional middle school in greater Minnesota. The reform, titled "Grading for Learning," was developed based on a review of scholarly research and a collaboration of an interdisciplinary group of teachers and the principal. The approach required assigning two grades: a knowledge grade, which was based primarily on student assessments, and a life skills grade, which was based on a rubric that assigned scores for effort, behavior and timeliness. The evaluation studied the perceptions of students and staff regarding the separation of the two grades, if they found the changes in practice useful and if the reform in grading promoted greater alignment between:a.Subjective teacher evaluation of student knowledge as measured by the knowledge grade and an objective measure of student knowledge as indicated by scores on a standardized achievement test b.Teacher evaluation of student knowledge as measured by the knowledge grade and teacher evaluation of student effort as measured by the life skills effort grade c. Teacher perception of student effort as measured by the life skills effort grade and student perception of effort as measured by a survey.The evaluation concluded that staff and students generally perceived the separation of a single grade into the knowledge grade and life skills grade positively. Students and staff reported that the changes in grading were useful for many reasons, although most notably because they had a clear understanding of what students knew about a particular subject as reported by the knowledge grade. Finally, changes in practices of calculating the knowledge grade increased the correlation of the knowledge grade and state standardized test scores. There was also moderate correlation between knowledge grades and life skills grades.
University of Minnesota Ed.D. dissertation. November 2013. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Jean A. King. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 129 pages, appendices A-I.
Pekel, Katie Inez.
A tale of two grades: an evaluation of Grading for Learning, a middle school grading reform.
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