“A” Grading Policy

September 1, 2016 at 10:54 AM 2 comments

Don’t you hate “What do I do to get an “A”? Bright kids who just want to get the points and seem too stressed to give a rip about the actual learning? The standard way of grading is as hard on the straight-A student as on the kids who feel daily judged by a big, fat “D” on their foreheads. Kids who define their own selves as “I’m a C student.”

It’s time to change this.

We looked at a “No Grade” policy where students get written or verbal feedback and a notation about if they handed work in or not. But our community is not ready for that yet. Btw, you can find out more from this readable and inspiring book: “Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to go Graceless in a Traditional Grades School” by Starr Sakstein from the Hack Learning Series 2015.

Instead, we are going for “A” Grading Policy in an attempt to combine the best of both worlds. It works like this:

All assignments are graded on a 4 point scale, including assessments, projects, homework and class assignments. Students and parents will see their scores on tests and on rubrics but the scores will not be entered in the grade book. Students will keep a portfolio in their Google drive and a paper file in class. 

  • A “Pass” means they met the benchmark standard (perhaps a standard ‘B’). They get comments for excellent or bare minimum, comments for what could be improved.  P = 4 pts.
  • “Repair” means there is something fairly small missing or misunderstood. They can repair the work and re-submit within a week for a full Pass. R = 3 pts
  • “Redo” means there is a lot missing and/or significant misunderstandings. Students resubmit the entire assignment within a week to raise their grade to a Pass. Re = 2 pts
  • “Missing” means no work recorded for a week after it was due. M = 0 pts. Missing work can be caught up to full credit
  • “Late” means no work recorded after a week overdue. L =  0 pts. Late work can be caught up to 3 pts.
  • “Excused” is self-explanatory.

Our hope is that what we measure is what we will get – that students see the value in putting in the effort, in taking risks and learning from mistakes. And that’s exactly what is required in innovative companies, in project based learning and well, in life really. Stay tuned for how this goes in our suburban, high-achieving district.


Entry filed under: Assessment and grading. Tags: , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Favorite Weekend | Coffee For The Brain  |  September 3, 2016 at 5:32 AM

    […] post about not giving letters grades is short and sweet, but the world still does not operate without letter grades. Kids want to know […]


    • 2. Sue Boudreau  |  September 19, 2016 at 12:47 PM

      Kids and parents DO know how they are doing – with comments, with actual points etc. on quizzes or labs. I agree, of course they (and I) want to know. The difference is that I record a ‘pass’ if they hit about a “B” standard. I am seeing a better than usual level of engagement using this system and much less stress. I’m also not noticing a drop in what students know and are able to do compared to previous years.



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