Mason Assessment Policy

Otis A. Mason Elementary
Grades 3-5 Grading Policy 2017-2018

WHAT IS STANDARDS-BASED GRADING?
Standards-based grading measures a student’s mastery of the grade-level standards for a course, or how well a student understands the material in class. The class grade will be based on all of the evidence the teacher collects demonstrating mastery of essential standards taught and assessed throughout a unit of instruction.

A focus on learning: The goal of this approach is to provide the teacher, the student, and the parent with a true picture of the knowledge and skills mastered, and to encourage a dialogue about what instruction the student needs next. Teachers will assess the student’s learning using a variety of formative and summative assessments, tools such as traditional paper-and-pencil tests, written papers, lab reports, or projects, but also informal assessments such as classroom discussions or teacher observations.
WHAT ARE OME’s GRADING PRACTICES?
OME teachers report grades that are accurate, consistent, meaningful, and supportive of learning. Here are some things to keep in mind:
• Teachers’ gradebooks are developed to place emphasis on summative assessments (the results of all the hard work the student puts in to mastering course material throughout each quarter) over general assignments (the homework, class activities, and assignments that allow the student to practice and deepen new knowledge). As such, 60% of the student’s grade will consist of summative assessments, while class assignments, quizzes and projects will make up the remaining 40%. Homework is not graded, though feedback should always be present.
• Teachers continually plan to assign coursework and assessments to gather data they use to make instructional decisions based on the student’s learning and growth. They update gradebooks on eSchool Plus on a regular basis to provide both students and parents with timely feedback through HAC.
• A standards-based grading approach recognizes that because learning is a process that takes place over time, students will be allowed to retake summative assessments. Teachers will communicate when assessments are available for a retake. ELA Cold Read assessments will not be eligible for retakes.

WHAT DOES THIS LOOKS LIKE IN HAC?
• Students may retake summative assessments if the first score is a 74.99% or below. A student who has taken a test again to demonstrate growth from the first assessment can receive up to a 75% on the second attempt. Teachers will put the highest of the two attempts in the grade book. To help differentiate a 75% on a retest from an original lower score of 56%, check to see if there is a decimal after the score. The number after the decimal indicates the student’s score on the original assessment. For instance, if you see a score of “75.56”, the student scored a 56% the first time the assessment was given.
• Teachers may also type “notes” into HAC to provide additional details.

WHY THIS DECIMAL SYSTEM?
Although it may seem confusing, when consistently applied across all OME classrooms, this grading system helps OME teachers, administrators, MTSS team, parents, and most importantly, students, easily compare their progress over time when checking course grades. Teachers are also better able to make instructional decisions to meet the needs of individual students in preparation for upcoming assessments in which students may encounter standards/concepts they struggled with previously.
49.99% THE LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE
OME teachers are the students’ advocate in the classroom in support of learning and knowledge gained over time. In our 100-point grading scale, a much larger range exists for failing grades (0-59—F) than for other grade categories (60-69—D; 70-79—C; 80-89—B; 90-100—A) if we were to allow for the recording of grades below a 49.99%. Our teachers and students recognize this system would make it much more difficult for a student to “recover” from a low grade. Much research on this practice notes that the use of zeros (and lower “F” grades) demotivates students rather than instilling responsibility (as many believe). As such, 49.99% will be the lowest possible grade students will be assigned for an assessment/assignment in any class.

The question that arises with this type of shift in grading practices is one of fairness and equity. Often, parents feel assigning 49.99% (or half credit) for work not completed or raising a lower failing grade to a 50% sends the wrong message about work ethic and lowers the performance range between many children who work hard in their classes to earn grades based on actual performance.
Let’s examine the grading scenarios below as we consider fairness in grading practices and the impact of lower “F” grades on student performance:
Main Idea Quiz Supporting Details Quiz Unit Test: Main Idea/Details Summarization Quiz Quarter 1 Assessment Average
90 75.56 80 0 95 68.11

Main Idea Quiz Supporting Details Quiz Unit Test: Main Idea/Details Summarization Quiz Quarter 1 Assessment Average
90 75.56 80 49.99 95 78.11

Note that in the scenario above, assigning a score of “0” for one assessment vs. a 49.99% equates to a ten-percentage point difference in the student’s average. Assigning a “0” for the missing assessment actually lowers a student (who was performing at a mid-B level on graded tasks) to a high D. The bottom set of scores allows for a course average closer to the individual scores earned. In that scenario, the student’s overall grade better indicates the level of knowledge possessed.

On the “Summarization Quiz” in scenario above, the “49.99%” indicates this student essentially did not earn any credit because he/she did not attempt the assessment during the quarter. Please keep in mind our teachers understand how critical it is to continually monitor and assess student learning to provide timely feedback for student growth. Rarely will a student actually be in a position in which a missing test/assignment was not taken before the end of a quarter. Remember too, the “75.56” score indicates this student was allowed to retake the “Supporting Details Quiz” after receiving an original score of 56%. Such a low original score indicates the student’s teacher provided valuable and strategic intervention to address the learning gap.
Intermediate Grades 3-5 Weights for standards-based grades across curriculum:
• 60% for assessments
• 40% for assignments, quizzes and projects done in class
• All homework must have a purpose and receive feedback, but will not be graded.
• 49.99% will be the lowest grade possible.
• Summative assessments will be eligible for a retake if the first attempt is a 74.99% or below. Cold reads are not eligible for retakes.

Primary Grades K-2 will use the follow this scale:
• 85-100 M (Mastering)
• 70-85 P (Progressing)
• 0-69 N (Needs improvement)

Questions? Please contact your child’s homeroom teacher or you can contact Dr. Pillay or Mrs. Gitto at 904-547-8440.