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elpmaSFreeFROMRethinking GradingBYCathy VatterottMeaningful Assessment for Standards-Based LearningASCD is a globalcommunity dedicatedto excellence in learning,teaching, and leading.Comprising 115,000125,000members—teachers, principals,superintendents, andadvocates from more than138 countries—the ASCD126community also includes52 affiliate organizations.51Learn more about how ASCDsupports educators who aremaking a difference andensuring students’ success.www.ascd.org

Available fromRethinking Grading: Meaningful Assessmentfor Standards-Based Learningby Cathy VatterottGRADING SYSTEMS OFTEN REWARD ON-TIME TASKCOMPLETION AND PENALIZE DISORGANIZATIONAND BAD BEHAVIOR. Despite our best intentions, gradesseem to reflect student compliance more than student learningand engagement. In the process, we inadvertently subvert thelearning process.After careful research and years of experience with gradingas a teacher and a parent, Cathy Vatterott examines anddebunks traditional practices and policies of grading in K–12schools. She offers a new paradigm for standards-basedgrading that focuses on student mastery of content and givesconcrete examples from elementary, middle, and high schools.Rethinking Grading will show all educators how standardsbased grading can authentically reflect student progress andlearning—and significantly improve both teaching and learning.AuthorCATHY VATTEROTT is an education professor andresearcher at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, aformer middle school teacher and principal, and theparent of a college graduate. She has learned fromher workshops that “grading continues to be the mostcontentious part . . . conjuring up the most intenseemotions and heated disagreements.”ORDER NOW!Quantity Discounts10–49 copies10%50 copies15%For Special Sales Discounts, contact your ASCD RegionalProgram Manager or Sales Consultant, or call 1-800-9332723, ext. 5773. E-mail: [email protected] edition is also available from Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and other bookstores.E-books are also available from Amazon, Apple, Barnes &Noble, Google, Kobo, and other distributors. See full listat www.ascd.org/epubs.2015 ASCD Book, 6” x 9,” 131 pgs.List Price 23.95ASCD Member Price 19.16StockISBN#115001978-1-4166-2049-5Call toll-free: 800-933-ASCD or 703-578-9600www.ascd.org/rethinkinggrading

Table of ContentsWe hope you enjoy this free sample of Rethinking Grading: MeaningfulAssessment for Standards-Based Learning. To learn more about thisbook or to purchase online, visit knowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .viiIntroduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11.The Culture of Grading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32.Why We Need a New Grading Paradigm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263.What Grading Looks Like in the Standards-Based Classroom . . . . . 404.What, How, and When to Grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 565.How to Reform Grading: Making Change Happen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81Afterword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125About the Author. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131

We hope you enjoy this free sample of Rethinking Grading: MeaningfulAssessment for Standards-Based Learning. To learn more about thisbook or to purchase online, visit www.ascd.org/rethinkinggrading. IntroductionGrading. It’s the hardest decision I must make in teaching. Everysemester I agonize about what is right. Is the grade truly indicative of the student’s performance? Do I have the weighting right?Have I given students enough opportunities to improve? All thishappens within the confines of the amount of time and energy Ihave available to determine grades.I continue to evolve in my practice. Last semester I createdstructured formative activities and rubrics. I found that thosestrategies helped more students “hit the mark” the first time. Ihad fewer rewrites with fewer deficiencies.Writing this book has been an awakening. Each semester I ammore thoughtful, more analytical, and more reflective about myown grading practices. At the same time, I am troubled by themindset that my college freshmen and sophomores bring to mycourses. (The juniors and seniors are a bit better.) For many, theirK–12 experience has left them woefully unprepared to handlecollege-level work. They often don’t fully comprehend how to analyze and synthesize. They seem to be stuck in the mode of “justtell me what you want.” Many of them are terrible writers, unableto express their thoughts clearly and intelligently. I see firsthandthe damage we have done, and how we have handicapped them1

2 Rethinking Grading: Meaningful Assessment for Standards-Based Learningfor college by giving grades that don’t reflect learning. I am notsurprised by how many drop out.We have the opportunity to change that. We have the opportunity to send students forward to college with the conceptualknowledge and learning strategies that are so critical to collegesuccess. It starts with empowering them to take charge of theirown learning and by eliminating some of the obstacles of traditional grading. Standards-based grading has the potential torestore integrity to the grading process. It can and will changeour students’ futures.

1703 N. Beauregard St. Alexandria, VA 22311-1714 USAPhone: 800-933-2723 or 703-578-9600 Fax: 703-575-5400Website: www.ascd.org E-mail: [email protected] guidelines: www.ascd.org/writeJudy Seltz, Executive Director; Stefani Roth, Publisher; Genny Ostertag, Director, ContentAcquisitions; Julie Houtz, Director, Book Editing & Production; Darcie Russell, Senior AssociateEditor; Lindsey Smith, Senior Graphic Designer; Mike Kalyan, Manager, Production Services;Valerie Younkin, Production Designer; Kyle Steichen, Senior Production SpecialistCopyright 2015 Cathy Vatterott. All rights reserved. It is illegal to reproduce copies of thiswork in print or electronic format (including reproductions displayed on a secure intranetor stored in a retrieval system or other electronic storage device from which copies can bemade or displayed) without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. By purchasing only authorized electronic or print editions and not participating in or encouragingpiracy of copyrighted materials, you support the rights of authors and publishers. Readerswho wish to reproduce or republish excerpts of this work in print or electronic format maydo so for a small fee by contacting the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), 222 RosewoodDr., Danvers, MA 01923, USA (phone: 978-750-8400; fax: 978-646-8600; web: www.copyright.com). To inquire about site licensing options or any other reuse, contact ASCD Permissionsat www.ascd.org/permissions, or [email protected], or 703-575-5749. For a list of vendorsauthorized to license ASCD e-books to institutions, see www.ascd.org/epubs. Send translation inquiries to [email protected] Core State Standards excerpted in this work are Copyright 2010 National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. Allrights reserved.All referenced trademarks are the property of their respective owners.All web links in this book are correct as of the publication date below but may have becomeinactive or otherwise modified since that time. If you notice a deactivated or changed link,please e-mail [email protected] with the words “Link Update” in the subject line. In yourmessage, please specify the web link, the book title, and the page number on which thelink appears.PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-4166-2049-5 ASCD product #115001PDF E-BOOK ISBN: 978-1-4166-2051-8; see Books in Print for other formats.Quantity discounts: 10–49, 10%; 50 , 15%; 1,000 , special discounts (e-mail [email protected] or call 800-933-2723, ext. 5773, or 703-575-5773). For desk copies, go to www.ascd.org/deskcopy.ASCD Member Book No. FY15-8A (July 2015 PSI ). ASCD Member Books mail to Premium (P),Select (S), and Institutional Plus (I ) members on this schedule: Jan, PSI ; Feb, P; Apr, PSI ;May, P; Jul, PSI ; Aug, P; Sep, PSI ; Nov, PSI ; Dec, P. For current details on membership, seewww.ascd.org/membership.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataVatterott, Cathy, 1951–Rethinking grading : meaningful assessment for standards-based learning / Cathy Vatterott.pages cmIncludes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 978-1-4166-2049-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Grading and marking (Students)—UnitedStates. 2. Educational tests and measurements—United States. 3. Educational evaluation—United States. I. Title.LB3060.37.V37 2015371.27'2--dc23201500909323 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 151 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Vatterott, Cathy, 1951– Rethinking grading : meaningful assessment for standards-based learning / Cathy Vatterott. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4166-2049-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Grading and marking (Students)—United States. 2. Educational tests a