Susan M. Brookhart Grading

ISBN 13: 9780130423764

Grading

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9780130423764: Grading

Whatever his/her feeling about grades, nearly every teacher must give them. That's the rationale behind this straightforward book —helping prospective teachers understand grading and learn to do it. Self-reflection is encouraged at the onset and throughout, while numerous references lead the reader onward. Topics focus on explaining how grades function in schools and schooling, and on developing skills in grading work and creating report cards. Based on current research and informed by the author's experience, the material is replete with detailed explanations, stories and illustrations, student work samples, sample report cards, and other school artifacts. After an introduction to the historical, social, legal, and psychological contexts of grading, chapters cover grading individual units of student work, followed by coverage of techniques for turning discrete grades into report-card marks. For future teachers, level K-12.

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The purpose of this book is to help practicing and aspiring teachers both to understand grading and to do it. Chapters, illustrations, and exercises are aimed at helping students to (1) see how grades function in schools and schooling, and (2) develop skills in assigning grades to student work and combining grades into marks for student report cards. Grades are a major means of communicating about student work to students, parents, future teachers, and other schools, so it is important that they convey information as clearly and accurately as possible. Grades also evoke many emotional responses and can cause difficulties for teachers, parents, and students if they are not handled carefully; therefore, it is important for teachers to understand their function in the process of schooling.

The theoretical principles on which the recommendations in this book are based come from the research literature. The reference list is lengthy, and I encourage readers to research their areas of interest. The practical applications of measurement and instructional theories to teaching come from my years of experience, first as a classroom teacher and then as a college professor, working with teachers and school administrators about the thorny issues of measuring school achievement. My bias is explicitly stated as a theme of the book: In a perfect world there would be no grades—at least, not as we know them now.

Assessment in general, and grading in particular, is the part of their work that many teachers like the least. Since we tend to do best the things we like and know, one of the goals of this book is to serve as a resource that will help teachers begin to see themselves as competent graders. Because most teachers' professional practice will require them to grade papers and assign report card grades, it is important to learn how to do these things well. At the same time, it is important to learn how to advocate for changes in student assessment practices that will serve students even better than present practices do.

TEXT ORGANIZATION AND SPECIAL FEATURES

The text is characterized by clear explanations, lots of stories and illustrations, samples of student work, sample report cards and other artifacts, and references for further study Each chapter begins with a list of Key Concepts. Each chapter ends with a set of questions or practice exercises designed to assess understanding of the chapter's contents. Since one of the main goals of the book is skill development, some of these exercises are aimed at practical, skill development (e.g., assign a grade and write feedback for a sample of work). Each major part of the book ends with a more comprehensive assignment designed to assess synthesis of major concepts and applications of readers' understanding to their future work as educators. The material is organized into three parts.

Part 1, Understanding Grading, introduces the subject of grading and its importance, defines terms, and sets grading in its historical, social, legal, and psychological contexts. Because of the huge impact of grading practices on both learning and motivation, an entire chapter is devoted to the educational psychology of grades. Self-reflection is encouraged, at the outset and throughout readers' progress through this book.

Part 2, Integrating Assessment and Instruction, discusses the grading of individual assignments. Chapters 4 and 5 present instruction and assessment concepts, whereas Chapters 6 and 7 are more skill oriented. When teachers talk about "grading" papers, they usually refer to both assigning a grade or score and writing formative feedback to students on those papers. Assigning valid and reliable scores and writing helpful feedback are different skills, although both are crucial to the teaching-learning process.

Part 3, Combining Grades Into Marks for Report Cards, discusses how to move from a set of individual assignments or observations to a report card grade. Different methods of arriving at composite grades are demonstrated, and readers will learn how to select the method that best suits their particular grading purpose. Sample report cards are shown. Aspiring teachers sometimes assume that all report cards are like the ones they had in school. Because report cards seem so "official," it's odd at first to realize that there can be so much variation among them. Chapter I I summarizes other ways to communicate information about student achievement.

TO USE THIS BOOK

Practicing teachers may wish to read this book in order to polish their skills at grading and enrich their understanding of grading's underlying concepts. Aspiring teachers or their professors may wish to read this book as a supplemental text, in conjunction with a text on educational psychology, instructional methods, or educational measurement, depending on the focus of the course. This book does not attempt to be a general textbook on classroom assessment, but rather to project a clear and detailed picture of a currently important teaching function—grading.

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