Anthony R. Reibel
Here are the essential habits of mind that will help ensure an accurate EBR grade determination process.
1. It’s like filing your taxes: Think about it this way if you did not turn in one page of your tax documents or forgot to fill in few line items you run the risk of the IRS fining you…right?
EBR works the same way. If the teacher doesn’t get ALL the evidence he or she deems essential then the teacher cannot make an accurate determination of a student’s overall proficiency. Thus the student runs the risk of failing the course.
2. A pattern of the codes N or M override the matrix: Make sure the students know that Ns or Ms (formerly BLANKS) in the grade book may result in a failing grade regardless of the proficiency scores they have earned.
Yes…even though a student may have an A/B trajectory on the small amount of work he or she happened to complete that may not override the fact that there are Ns and Ms (formerly BLANKS) in the grade book.
If this is the case please talk with that student early and often to explain to them the consequences.
3. Don’t grade by hand!: The statement that Tableau is inaccurate is…well…true. Tableau gives estimates and that is what an estimate is, not entirely accurate. However because Tableau only provides an estimate does not mean we abandon its use.
Tableau simply estimates a student’s proficiency based on the two most common proficiency scores in a particular standard.
Using Tableau in combination with Infinite Campus is the most accurate way to review and determine grades. See the next section titled How to use Tableau and Infinite Campus for EBR Grading for a suggested method to using these tools effectively.
4. You are the grade giver: As we stated above, the matrix is a grade ESTIMATOR not a grade CALCULATOR. Remember you are the grade giver, not the MATRIX! All the matrix does is weed quickly through the mounds of proficiency scores and suggest to you and the student the central tendency of the student’s work.
Whether it is a 2-4, 3-1, 4-3 or any other combination …if it is not a score the student deserves then don’t give it to them. Merely invite a conversation with the student and discuss why they did not earn that grade and discuss what is grade they truly have earned. Always use common assessment evidence to highlight the reasons why the student did not earn the proficiency score that was suggested.
5. Talk to the students: Invite conversations with students early and often about their projected grade. This will alleviate any tension or confusion that may exist. Remember EBR is about the co-construction of learning, which means giving a grade must involve both you and the student.
6. Focus on Step 2 of the Grade Calculation: It is only required that a student interact with is step 2 of the matrix (the part that explains an A, B, C and so forth). The bi-modal matrix step is not necessary for the student. So take the bi-modal matrix, put it in your top file drawer and only pull it out if needed. Step 2 is shown below:
A: A score of “3” or “4” in each of the standards
B: A score of “2” in any one Standard (with grades of “3” or “4” in the remaining Standards)
C: A score of “2” in more than one Standard (no score of “1”)
D: At least one score of “1”; at least one score of 2 or above
F: A score of “1” in each of the three academic standards
7. Rely on your team: If a discussion about a grade has turned a bit dicey, rely on the assessments, and targets, that you collaboratively developed with your team. If your assessments are quality assessments then the evidence produced by them will always show you, and the student, the way through a tough conversation. Remember when in doubt you can always ask a team member what they think about a student’s performance.
8. Make sure your grade book is in order: Make sure your grade book is organized the best it can be. Aside from reporting out on the three Ps (Progress, Product, Process) ensure that all formative assessments are reported separately from summative judgments, events (assignments) are clearly aligned to learning targets (categories), and that all the proficiency scores are entered and correct.
9. Don’t hesitate to give an Incomplete: In the case of extreme disagreement concerning a final semester grade do not hesitate to use the code “I” for incomplete and offer a plan to demonstrate proficiency. Here is how it works.
If a student, or parent, feels a semester grade is not accurate do the following:
1. First change the grade to an INCOMPLETE
2. Identify the targets that are leading to the current grade
3. Then develop a plan with the student, which should consist of more evidence gathering events.
4. Through this plan the student can then prove out that they are in fact deserving of what they say they are.
5. When complete the teacher should review the evidence with the student and determine the appropriate final mark.
Two things will happen, either the student will work really hard and actually demonstrate that they are proficient and deserving of the grade, or the student will still fall short of proficiency and realize that the original grade was in fact correct.
In my experience it was the latter that occurred most often. When this happens please resist the urge to say "I told you so."
10. Always consider growth: Aptitude should not be the only factor in determining student performance. We must consider how a student grows. Rarely does a student come into a course proficient in every target. Instead they GROW into their proficiency. Therefore the final grade is just as much about how they finish the race as how they ran it.
For example if a student's proficiency scores for particular standard looked like this;
and another student's scores looked like this;
the matrix would consider them both a 4-1 and suggest a overall standard score of a 3 for each student.
Here is the question though, are both these students deserving of a 3? What grade would you give these students? One student is clearly growing past a 3 and the other is retreating from a 3. Regardless of the answer, the point here is growth is an important context to consider when reviewing student performance.
Hope you find this information helpful as you determine your grade for students.