Grades

Grade Chart (3/8/15)

PowerSchool (user name available from your homeroom teacher and passwords available from the office)


"How is my child doing in class?" is a common question for parents to ask.  The answer is much more complicated than the question, however, and viewing a set of grades does not answer it very well.  To give a thorough answer to that question you should receive information about things like:

  • quality of work on a variety of in-class and homework assignments
  • performance on multiple choice, short answer, and essay portions of tests
  • behavior, maturity, and attitude during class
  • ability to work productively and cohesively within a group
  • contributions (or distractions) during teacher-lead discussion
  • interactions during peer evaluation of partner assignments
  • discipline issues and negative needs

Currently I don't have a system in place that can provide many of those things listed above but am always open to ideas and for having discussions with any interested parent. 

Grades are supposed to be a comparison of a student's potential to their performance.  All too often though, grades measure merely productivity and a student's ability to follow directions, regurgitate content without extremely deep analysis and with only minimal creativity.  Those are valuable skills but not the only ones with which a student should leave 8th grade.  Assignments that go beyond that realm are hard to assess on a points scale --- how do I, as a teacher, know (much less measure) a student's potential?  Impossible, I say.  I can compare one student's product with the average product for that class or grade level, but that comparison rewards conformity, which is not my goal.  So my personal compromise is to use grades only for what they are able to measure.  

Although most middle school kids aren't very effusive when asked "How was school today", some of them will answer specific questions about the activities in a class or their interpretation of the lessons experienced.  Ask a specific question to get a specific answer.

If you have any suggestions for methods that I can use to effectively communicate the other types of information listed above, I would love to hear your ideas.  As always, if you have questions or comments or concerns, feel free to call me.

Abbreviations Chart



During the 2013-2014 school year we (teachers, students, and parents) will consider a variety of feedback and evaluation formats and their effect upon motivation, performance, and learning).  Feedback for student work will come in a variety of forms including written, discussion, self-reflection, and goal setting, but regarding the "gradebook aspect" of things, in my class, each of the 3 core subjects (science, English, and history) will have a different evaluation system.  Science will involve a relatively traditional points and grades system, history will utilize a "plus, check, minus" system for most assignments, and English assignments will simply show up as done or not.

Fall, 2013-2014

Report Card Comments Sheet Template: Students, please follow instructions

  1. Please sign in to your mydiscoveryk8 account and then navigate back to this page.
  2. Click on the link above to get to the template.
  3. Click "File" and then select "Make a Copy" (don't click "ok" yet)
  4. Replace the words "Copy of" with your first and last name and click "Ok"
  5. Click on the blue "Share" button and add chrisheumann@gmail.com as well as your math teacher with "can edit" privileges. (lubna.sheet@gmail.com, jnorlindisco@gmail.com, mtikalsky@gmail.com, lbrett@discoveryk8.org, jgilmore@discoveryk8.org)
  6. Read and then respond to the 6 prompts
  7. The teacher will add comments as well, and then print the document as an addendum to your report card (distributed 2/5)


Spring 2012-2013

Report Card Comments Sheet Template: Students, please follow instructions

  1. Please sign in to your mydiscoveryk8 account and then navigate back to this page.
  2. Click on this link to get to the template.
  3. Click "File" and then select "Make a Copy" (don't click "ok" yet)
  4. Replace the words "Copy of" with your first and last name.
  5. Read the introduction and then respond to the prompt.
  6. By 6/6/13 share the document with your homeroom teacher and any other teacher from whom you would like comments.
  7. Homeroom teacher will print the document as an addendum to your report card.


Fall, 2012-2013

Report Card Comments Sheet Template: Students, please follow instructions

  1. Please sign in to your mydiscoveryk8 account and then navigate back to this page.
  2. Click on this link to get to the template.
  3. Click "File" and then select "Make a Copy" (don't click "ok" yet)
  4. Replace the words "Copy of" with your first and last name, check the box that says "Also copy document collaborators", and click "Ok"
  5. Read the teacher comments and then respond to the 6 prompts
  6. Each teacher will add their comments as well, and then print the document as an addendum to your report card (distributed 2/6)
Notes
Letter grades are a big topic of discussion and difference amongst the staff (and parents, I assume).  They measure productivity and information retention, but rarely do they fully reflect learning, autonomy, curiosity, and maturity.  While it is important to recognize the students' accomplishments, it is more important to recognize their individuality, catalyze curiosity, and facilitate the next challenge.  

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