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September 18, 2013

Progress Reports (Already)

In college I don't remember ever having a course that spoke about the trauma and drama of progress reports... Maybe it was covered, but in those classes I was so focused on creating cute lessons and not feeling like a kid during my student teaching that I really don't remember. Life experiences have taught me a few things over the years though.

*I am thankful for grading programs. I absolutley despised staying up late computing averages when it used to be time for progress reports. Technology is wonderful. 

*I have learned I am not a weighted grading type of girl. I see things in black and white, based on points- not percentages. In doing so I have learned the different point values that work for me.

For example in writing I grade with the district rubric. Paragraphs are worth 10 points. Multiple paragraphs are worth more, but it's based on the same kind of point system.

4 = 10
3+ = 9.5
3 = 9
3- = 8.5
2+ = 8
2 = 7.5
2- = 7
1+ = 6.5
1 = 6

*It's important to keep a hard copy of your grades just in case technology doesn't work as planned.  We have a new grade book this year, and already numerous teachers have lost everything as the system has been dealing with glitches.  I'm crossing my fingers and toes that my grades are safe!  

*I love categories in each grade book as a way for parents/student/me to see how the child is doing on assessments vs. classwork, etc..

Here's the categories I have in each grade book:
Writing: Final Drafts, Classwork, Projects, Spelling, Reading Logs.
Reading: Assessments, Classwork, Projects, Summaries
Math: Assessments, Classwork, Projects
Science: Assessments, Classwork, Projects
Social Studies: Assessments, Classwork, Projects

Notice HW isn't on there... On our report cards homework is an E, S, N separate thing (just like math facts)... So I still keep track but don't include in their letter grades.  For the most part it's practice.  Do it or don't do it.  Rewards for getting it done, consequences for not getting it done.... Things that I do grade/count as projects, or have their own category - reading logs, etc.

Here's how my typical grading system looks like:

1.  First I record the scores on my hard copy. I have one sheet per subject per progress section (so 2 or 3 sheets per subject per trimester). The kids are listed in alphabetical order, just like on the grading system.

2. As I record their scores on the hard copy, I write "Parent Sign _____" on the top of the student paper if the grade is less than 72% and I highlight it. In my grade book I circle that student's grade to give me a reminder. 

3.  On Fridays the papers go home and the highlighted papers must be returned with a signature the next Monday. When returned I highlight the circled score in my book. Easy way to see who brought it back and who to remind/email parents.

4.  After I record things on my hard copy I head to the computer and enter it into the different online grade books. On my hard copy I put a check mark at the bottom of the column after the assignment has been entered. 

For progress reports we just print the online reports and send them home for a parent signature. I staple the below note over the grade portion, leaving their name showing at the top so it's easy to send home.

Before I send the progress reports home I call the kids over (usually during some independent activity) and show them their grades on the big sheet and all the other information on this half sized sheet. They then go and write what they are proud of and a goal for the future.  I staple the half size on top and stick it to the side to pass out at the end of the day to take home.  Want the above note for yourself?  An editable copy of it is over on Google Docs.  The font above is Century Gothic (since I love it.) 

Kids have to return progress reports the next day with a signature. For extra incentive I give out our school "cash".  Since it is homework, if they don't remember to turn it back in by Friday then they will have to lose recess.  At that point I'll email home, checking to make sure parents saw the reports.

I also sent an email to parents today explaining that the reports are coming home with the extra note and that it's the same grades they have been looking at on the parent grade website. This year I had parents sign a separate note in my back to school packet, making sure they knew about the parent website.  I'm hoping the extra notification helps keep parents in the loop.  :)   

The first trimester is always so short that soon enough it will be report card time. Each trimester I take the grading sheets out of my binder and put them in a file folder to save for reference. Since every trimester starts over, it's just for reflection. 

I hope this helped someone. What do you do for grades?

1 comment:

  1. In my district we don't give actual number grades until 6th grade! We start giving letter grades in 3rd grade, but they aren't based on averages or points accrued or anything. We're supposed to use a performance rubric to grade them. It can get really dicey and hard to explain to a parent why their child got a B instead of an A when we can't give an average or list of points attained to back up anything!

    The amount of actual content a chid has learned doesn't play into their grade at all. It's more about the effort, desire to learn, and growth... which is a slippery slope and a theory of grading that I don't support 100%.

    I still give my kids number grades based on rubrics for some assignments (reading response journals weekly, research projects in SS and Science) because I think they need the exposure before it hits them in the face in 6th grade...but the numbers aren't supposed to play into our grading really.

    I sometimes miss the black and white days...

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