Second, read the chapter I gave you in class from Jay McTighe and Carol Ann Tomlinson’s book Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design. Then read through the rough outline below and add your comments in response to these ideas via Diigo. What don't you understand? What would be great if we had more of it South? What would be terrible? Why? How do you imagine this solving (or not solving) the problems the Fictional Principal mentions in the scenario? Please make at least two separate comments to something specific in the chapter. Remember to share to APNSHS. If you try Diigo and it doesn't work, you can make a comment to this post. Using Diigo, make some sticky notes/highlights in response to these ideas.
The chapter adds a lot to our discussions, I think, and is not terribly long or difficult to read. However, the book is not written for a general audience but for professional educators. And, like many professions, teaching has its own vernacular that sounds like gibberish to outsiders (and, often, to us as well). So before you read, some terms defined:
-- Differentiated Instruction refers to teaching that is designed to meet the needs of a variety of different kinds of students within the same classroom. Think Global Communities. Here’s a link to a bit more detailed explanation from Wikipedia.
-- Understanding by Design is McTighe’s term for planning lessons with the final student learning in mind. So a teacher would decide what she wants kids to know, then design a unit that reached that goal, rather than doing a bunch of stuff then designing a test based on what happened. More info here.
-- Standards-based education is the broad movement over the last 30 years or so to devise broad student learning goals then test to find out whether students have met those goals. Think MCAS. More details, again from Wikipedia.
Hope that helps. Just drop me an email if you encounter some bit of edubabble that is impossible to figure out.
OUTLINE OF "Grading and Reporting Achievement" from Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design by McTighe and Tomlinson.
Teachers are conflicted about grading – we want to encourage children but we must evaluate them. We believe that the primary goal of grading and reporting is to communicate to important audiences, such as students and parents, high-quality feedback to support the learning process and encourage learner success.
-- How will we know that we are providing high-quality feedback to parents and students?
-- How might we ensure that the information we transmit in the grading and reporting process is useful in supporting the learning process?
-- How should we grade and report in ways that encourage learner success?
Six principles of effective grading:
1) Grades and reports should be based on clearly specified learning goals and performance standards.
2) Evidence used for grading should be valid.
3) Grading should be based on established criteria, not on arbitrary norms.
4) Not everything should be included in grades.
5) Avoid grading based on (mean) averages.
6) Focus on achievement, and report other factors separately.
Traditional grading systems disadvantage: struggling students:
-- Struggling students: “Learning disabilities, language issues, emotional matters, and other challenges generally persist…. (S)truggling students will typically receive low grades year after year… After a time, such students are left to conclude that either they are stupid or school is stupid.”
-- Advanced students: “Such students learn early that effort is not a precursor to success. Ultimately, they begin to believe that if you are smart, you should not have to study. High grades begin to seem like an entitlement. … (to) realize their potential as adults, these students will need at least three characteristics: (1) persistence in the face of difficulty; (2) the ability to take intellectual risks, and (3) pleasure in work. Competitive grading practices my unwittingly teach them the exact opposite.”
Schools should report at least two, and preferably three, separate factors: (1) grades for achievement of goals, (2) progress toward goals, and (3) work habits.
-- Clarity of communication. It is not appropriate to give students a single grade that “averages” or “blends” standards-referenced achievement, personal growth, and work habits. Such a grade obstructs our ability to provide clear, honest, and useful information to students and parents.
-- Impact on student motivation. If we limit success exclusively to standards-based achievement, we are unwittingly disenfranchising those students who work diligently and make significant personal gains, yet are hampered by disabilities, language, and other barriers.