(Closed) Teacher Bees

posted 8 years ago in Career
Post # 3
7777 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I am of the last legs of my bachelors (getting ready to student teach) and we have discussed this in some of my classes. Obviously, I have not used it in a classroom yet.

I definitely think that there is merit in doing grading things this way. I think it is a better way to get a clearer understanding of where each student is at. I mean, with standard grading you are relying on tests and homework for your point values. A student can cram for a test or ask a peer to help with homework and not actually learn anything from it. They are just trying to do the assignment rather than building their skills to be able to implement what they are learning.

I could see it being more useful for some subject areas than others, such as the arts, music, forgeign language, etc. That being said, I think that it can be used successfully in any area.

What are your thoughts on it?

Post # 5
929 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@eholden: I did my training in Australia and i now teach in Australia too, and i’ve never heard of proficiency grading..can you explain it to me? 

Post # 8
7777 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@eholden: Haha. I have no clue, I wont have student teaching done by then (I was supposed to do it this coming fall). I was thinking I may have to go back to being a nanny for a while.

Post # 9
342 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I graduated last May and now tutor in the district to get my foot in the door.  We do not use the proficiency grading system however the new math program and writing program we use are geared more towards application than knowledge.  With the math the kids play a game that is specific to the unit and unit benchmarks and from the way the kids play we can gage what they understand and what we need to remediate on.  I honestly have never heard of the proficiency grading and I got my degree in South Dakota and am now in the Wyoming district.

Post # 10
1068 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I was a teacher (had my Masters too!) and I really loved the idea of proficiency grading. It only makes sense that “passing” students is based on mastery of the content, not the amount of homework/projects completed (but there’s also a pattern in students who don’t pass tests and don’t do homework). I think that it also teaches the life lesson that your result is based on the quality of that work. Just because you completed something does not mean anything. 

Though our school did not have this policy, I replicated it in my classroom by making tests heavily weighted (with additional opportunity to remediate and retake the test). It really taught my students that they needed to work hard to improve and they were less anxious with tests if they knew that they could spend more time to learn more (with me of course) and retake a different version of the test.

Post # 13
1676 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I just did my student teaching in a school where this was a highly contested issue. I love the theory behind it, but I find that there are several issues with it:

1) It takes an incredibly long time to mark and remark that many assignments.

2) Parents still want a number. They want to know exactly how well Johnny did.

3) Kids don’t always learn responsibility if they are given unlimited chances.

What I implemented my classroom instead (high school history) was several small assignments that taught a concept with lots of feed back with very low weighting and then a larger assignment with slightly higher weighting. Each time that I reintroduced a skill, I would repeat the progress with higher weighting each time.

Example: Essay writing
Assignment one: Write me an outline (worth 0.5 raw score)
Assignment two: Write me a thesis statement and one solid argumentative paragraph (1 raw score)
Assignment three: Write me a whole essay (3 raw score)

Round two:

Assignment 1:Write me an intro paragraph (1 raw score)
Assignment 2: Write an in class essay (3 raw score)
Assignment 3: Take home your essay and polish it (5 raw score)

I don’t know if it’s actually any less work, but it gets around awkward school policies and issues that parents and staff had.

Post # 15
1676 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

There is a high school in the city where I live that just gives a plus, minus or equals to sign on assignments to indicate whether the student had met the objective of the assignment with formative feedback on the assignment. Because in my province we are legally required to give a grade, the teacher then selects three assignments or exams at the end of the class to grade. The idea is that the grade represents the actual capabilities of the student rather than behaviors exhibited in the class (such as not handing in assignments and get a zero or not understanding a concept and being dinged for it.) There is serious debate over this policy in my city – some schools are leaning towards an absolute no zero policy, other schools have no grades, and some schools fully believe in zeros.

Post # 16
2538 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

I teach high school English and college Masters of Ed classes for teachers.  I think proficiencies are great, but I have never seen them in practice.  The ones I have heard from have something like 6 proficiencies for an entire year and you have to pass each one before moving to the next.

In CA we have tons of standards; too many to actually grade or teach individually.  Simplifying the standards into major proficiencies (that combine many of the standards together) would be really beneficial to make sure we are teaching what we really want students to be able to do.

But I realize the difficulties in implementation.  People do not like change.  Parents know grades and expect them.  I think for proficiencies to work, there would have to be specific feedback along the away akin to grades to show whether the student was approaching the proficiency.

CA elementary teachers use standards-based report cards which is kind of a similar concept.  They grade each student Advanced, Proficient, Basic, Below Basic, Far Below Basic on each standard.  They are labor intensive, but very informative.

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