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What to Grade?

Posted on March 3rd, 2013

Admin at my HS has had us reading three books so far this year duringĀ  part of our grade level core time. A book about learning targets in which the authors were incredibly condescending and really were offering an old school approach. Honestly though it has really made me think about what I am doing each day in the classroom.

The second text we read this year is Tony Wagner’s Global Achievement Gap. A lot of pie in the sky ideas. What we as a core group keep referring to from that reading is his list of 7 Survival Skills. This mention is important and I’ll refer back to it in a moment.

Right now we are reading Ken O’Connor’s How to Grade book. We are just through the introduction at this point so I won’t pass judgement on it yet. A well defined set of grading standards is what appears to be important.

During our core meetings we are trying to come to terms on what appears to be a conflict between what Tony Wagner is saying is important (those soft skills) and what the Learning Target authors/Ken O’Connor is saying is important (hard skills). The Seven Survival Skills can’t be tested on paper. We can see these are more like the participation grades. What has our attention right now is how can we accurately and fairly assign grades to assess how we’ll students are showing they have those survival skills? What do the skills even look like in action for high school students?

We don’t have the answers. Do any of you?