Friday, January 16, 2015

Grading Practices Workshop in Minnesota


Topic: Implementing Effective Grading and Reporting Practices

Presenter: Dr. Thomas R. Guskey, Professor at the University of Kentucky, International Consultant and Author

Audience: K-12 Teachers, Principals and District Level Administrators, Building Leadership Teams and School Board Members

Dates: February 18, 2015

Double Tree by Hilton Rochester-Mayo Clinic Area
150 S. Broadway
Rochester, MN 55904
(507) 281-8000
Hotel Website

Registration: 8:00 am-8:30 am

$225 per person if you register on or before February 6, 2015
$250 per person if you register after February 6, 2015
$210 per person if a school registers with a team of 5 or more

*Price includes coffee in the morning, lunch, refreshments throughout the day and all workshop materials*

Workshop Time: 8:30 am-3:00 pm

Workshop Description: Based on his recent book On Your Mark: Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting, participants who attend this workshop will learn how to create and sustain a learning environment where students thrive and stakeholders are accurately informed of student progress. Mr. Guskey will clarify the purpose of grades, craft a vision statement aligned with this purpose, and discover research-based strategies to implement effective grading and reporting practices. He will also identify policies and practices that render grading inaccurate, and understand the role grades play in students’ future success and opportunities.

By the conclusion of this workshop, participants will:
  • Learn how to question traditional grading and reporting practices, and seek more accurate practices.
  • Identify the purpose of grading, and ensure school and classroom visions, practices, and policies support it.
  • Implement research-based grading and reporting practices that promote accurate, useful accounts of student learning.
  • Understand why traditional practices, such as grading on the curve and offering plus or minus grades, don’t fully report student academic performance.
  • Examine grading and reporting policies, and make sure they support students, parents, and other stakeholders.

To register for this workshop, please call (920) 479-6504 or email us at

Information taken from First Educational Resources

MELT Information

The MELT is just around the corner. We thought it would be a good idea reiterate the list of reminders and pointers about the day.  You should have received an email with the same information.
  • First and foremost, the WEATHER POLICY - if the weather is inclement, any cancellation or delay relating to the MELT will be posted by 6:00 a.m. on theWCCO website under Quicklinks - School Closings. We will be listed under MRVED (just our initials.) This will also be posted on WCCO's TV channel.
  • Dress in layers. The commons area (morning refreshments and lunch) could be cool because the main doors are there and people will be coming and going. Also, some of the rooms could be warm or cool depending on the number of people in the session. The gymnasium will be open and the bleachers will be down so you have a place for your jackets.
  • Coffee and hot water for tea/hot chocolate (tea bags and hot chocolate not provided) will be available all morning in the commons area.
  • Lunch (commons area) - there will be two lines so that lunch can be served in a timely fashion. There will be signs around the building directing you to the lunch lines.
  • If you are not eating the catered meal, we suggest you bring a bag lunch. The school is out in the country and the nearby towns are not that close to allow you to drive there, eat a relaxing lunch, and return in time for the afternoon session which begins promptly at 1:00 p.m.
  • An electronic evaluation will be sent out on Tuesday, January 20. Please complete it as soon as possible. We really listen to your suggestions and your feedback.
  • If you are attending a networking session during the day, remember there is no "expert" presenting at these sessions. This is a time for you to bring items (websites, lessons, apps, projects, etc...) to share with others. There will be a facilitator at the networking sessions, but they are there to simply provide guidance and order to the session.
  • Lastly, here are the session times in case you are not coming right away in the morning for the first session.
    • Session 1: 8:40-9:40
    • Session 2: 9:50-10:50
    • Session 3: 11:00-Noon
    • Lunch: Noon-1:00
    • Session 4: 1:00-2:00
  • Enter through Door #5 (follow the walkway to the left of the eagle statue). The door also has the number 5 on it.
  • Be sure to stop by the registration table in the commons area to pick up your registration packet (personalized agenda, clock hours, lunch ticket if applicable). We have over 500 people picking up packets that day so if you would be so kind as to say your name when it is your turn, registration will go that much faster. The tables will be divided up by the first letter of your last name, so look for the signs on the wall behind the tables to get into the correct line.
As of today, the weather looks like it will cooperate and it is set to be a great day of learning for all. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact either Brandon ( or Mary ( We look forward to seeing you all on Monday!

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 15 & Conclusion

Fix 15: Don't leave students out of the grading process.  Involve students; they can, and should, play key roles in assessment and grading that promote achievement.

Students need to be involved in the grading process and should understand how and why they are being graded.  Grading should be transparent, not only for student use, but parent and administrator use as well.  Be clear in what you are grading.

The past 15 weeks we have been focusing on Ken O'Connor's 15 Fixes for Broken Grades.  I highly suggest reading through the whole book, it will change the way you approach grading in your classroom.  It's a very quick read, and well worth the time!

Fixes 1-6: Fixes for practices that distort achievement
Fixes 7-10: Fixes for low-quality or poorly organized evidence
Fixes 11-12: Fixes for inappropriate grade calculation
Fixes 13-15: Fixes to support learning
  1. Don't include student behaviors in grades; include only achievement.
  2. Don't reduce marks on "work" submitted late; provide support for the learner.
  3. Don't give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement.
  4. Don't punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement.
  5. Don't consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately.
  6. Don't include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence.
  7. Don't organize information in grading records by assessment methods or simply summarize into a single grade; organize and report evidence by standards/learning goal.
  8. Don't assign grades using inappropriate or unclear performance standards; provide clear descriptions of achievement expectations.
  9. Don't assign grades based on student's achievement compared to other students; compare each student's performance to preset standards.
  10. Don't rely on evidence gathered using assessments that fail to meet standards of quality; rely only on quality assessments.
  11. Don't rely only on the mean; consider other measures of central tendency and use professional judgment.
  12. Don't include zeros in grade determination when evidence is missing or as punishment; use alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement, or use "I" for incomplete or insufficient evidence.
  13. Don't use information from formative assessments and practice to determine grades; use only summative evidence.
  14. Don't summarize evidence accumulated over time when learning is developmental and will grow with time and repeated opportunities; in those instances, emphasize more recent achievement.
  15. Don't leave students out of the grading process.  Involve students, they can, and should, play key roles in assessment and grading that promote achievement.
The goal of this series over the past 4 months was to get you to examine your grading practices.  In order to make any change, one must first realize and understand what the purpose of a grade is.  The purpose of a grade is to communicate what a student knows and is able to do.  Without this clear understanding, teachers tend to lump behaviors and expectations into grades, thus inaccurately reporting what a student knows and is able to do.  I highly recommend Ken O'Connor's book on grading.  He provides fixes that are practical for any classroom and will give you a more accurate picture of where your class is.

If you are looking to go deeper into standards-based grading, which was referenced many times over the past 4 months, I suggest looking at Thomas Guskey and Jan Bailey's book Developing Standards-Based Report Cards.

Technology Tip - is a great video conferencing website and/or app.  The site allows up to 8 people to video chat at once.  There is no login or installing required!  The quality is great.  All you need is a camera and a microphone.  It's almost too easy!  This could be an option for an online class, or for a student that has been absent for an extended period.  It could also be used personally as well to make video calls.  It also works from an iPad or iPhone through their app.  And it's all free!