Equitable Grading Practices

SHS Grading Philosophy

   
SHS Grading Video #1: Overview  
 SHS Grading Video #2: Assessment  
SHS Grading Video #3: Homework   
Grading and College Admissions  
 8/22/22 Parent Night PPT  08.22.22 Parent Information Night
SHS Grading Video #4: Equitable Grade Reporting   

Equitable Grading History at SHS:

Over the past several years, beginning on Opening Day of September 2016, our learning community has engaged in extensive learning and conversations related to equitable grading practices. 

During the 2016-17 school year, teacher leaders engaged in a Book Study of, "Grading Smarter, Not Harder" by Myron Dueck.  In 2017 and 2018, teacher leaders and some teachers were able to attend a PD by Rick Wormeli.  Teacher leaders also looked at specific SHS data, including the discrepancy between final course averages and final exam averages (both local exams and Regents exams), as well as the number of students receiving grades above 100%. Staff continued learning and reflecting on their own practices during department meetings and faculty meetings. 

The focus of the October 2018 Conference Day was teacher discussions through "Grading Roundtables" where teachers shared the practices they had been learning about and how they had positively impacted their classrooms.  Small groups of teachers engaged in grading pilots to implement some of the things they had been learning about.

In the 2018-19 school year, an effort comment was added to the report card, modeled after elementary school verbiage (who have traditionally used Standards Based Grading style report cards).  

In January 2019, Mr. McCabe established a committee to evaluate the tradition of having a Val/Sal.  The committee recommended in April 2019 to move to a Cum Laude and Magna Cum Laude system, which began in the 2021-22 school year.

In March 2019, SHS teachers voted to adopt a consistent building grading philosophy beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.  

Throughout this time, Assessment, Blended Learning/Digital Conversion, CRE, SEL have been a focus for the district, which included extensive work on Learning Targets and the Assessment Cycle. In August 2019 and Feb 2020, the district ran Grading Smarter, Not Harder professional development courses for teachers , with approximately 20 teachers engaging in these full day learning sessions.

In 2020, the pandemic brought forward just how imperative these conversations and shifts are.  For some, this was an opportunity to spend more time with family or embrace a new hobby.  For others, this was a time of unprecedented stress, anxiety, and situational poverty, all of which have had significant impact on the academic needs of our students.

Administrators and teachers in the district began reading "Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms" by Joe Feldman, which directly correlated many of the initiatives SHS has been prioritizing.  A group of 25 teachers and administrators engaged in a full day learning around this topic in September 2021, and recommended that we adopt a Spencerport version of these practices.

In October 2021, all teachers at SHS spent 3 hours engaged in learning and discussion about Equitable Grading Practices during our conference day.  We explored the 3 Pillars of Equitable Grading and reviewed a DRAFT 3 Year Plan of how we could make our grades more Equitable.  All teachers were provided the chance to participate in the Equitable Grading Task Force and receive a copy of the book, Grading for Equity by Joe Feldman.  

Equitable Grading Task Force:

During the 2021-22 school year, SHS formed an Equitable Grading Task Force to continue learning and making recommendations about shifting grading practices in the building.  The Task Force members are listed below.  This group met 3 days during the year, November 30th, March 7th, and April 11th. 

Members:

  1. Cory Allen (Chief Information Officer)
  2. Katie Allen (ELA Teacher)
  3. Christina Beeley (ELA Teacher Leader)
  4. Angela Borrego-Chase (Spencerport Graduate)
  5. Kristin Cocchiara (Math Teacher/Content Focused Coach)
  6. Chris Crowell (Science Teacher Leader)
  7. Rick Hepler (Science Teacher/Content Focused Coach)
  8. JoAnn Krywy (Counselor)
  9. Katie Mason (Special Education/Academy Teacher)
  10. Sean McCabe (High School Building Principal)
  11. Justin Montois (Technology Teacher)
  12. Sara Moyer (World Language Teacher)
  13. Rick Mueller (Social Studies Teacher)
  14. Jackie Nentarz (PE Teacher/PE and Health Teacher Leader)
  15. Colin Nobles (Technology Teacher)
  16. Kristen Paolini (Director of Curriculum)
  17. Katherine Resch (World Language Teacher)
  18. Paul Resch (Academy Social Studies Teacher)
  19. Megan Sarkis (Parent/Higher Ed Representative)
  20. Erin Shaw (High School Assistant Principal)
  21. Rachel Sherman (Special Education Teacher)
  22. Jess Silsby (High School Assistant Principal)
  23. Melanie Thomas (World Language Teacher Leader)
  24. Amanda Van Huben (Special Education Teacher)
  25. Miranda Wharram-Santillo (Science Teacher)
  26. Ty Zinkiewich (Assistant Superintendent for Instruction)
Throughout the 2021-22 School Year, all departments engaged in multiple follow up conversations with building administrators and the Equitable Grading Task Force Members, focused on what questions teachers still had and what adjustments to our structures and systems people felt like would be necessary to implement more Equitable Grading Practices.  

The Equitable Grading Task Force recommended the following Equitable Grading Guidelines:

SHS Grading Guidelines

At the end of the school year, every teacher met individually with their administrator and had a chance to ask questions about how these grading practices would look in their classroom for the 22-23 school year.

Additional Resources:

SHS Engagement Rubric
SHS Report Card Comments
SHS Learning Plans

Article: What Do We Mean by "Equitable Grading"? by Joe Feldman
Book: Grading For Equity by Joe Feldman Prologue and Chapter 1 (Publicly available on his website)
Video: Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, How It Transforms Schools and Classrooms
Article: Undoing the Traditions of Grading and Reporting by Thomas R. Guskey
Article: Grading During the Pandemic: A Conversation with Joe Feldman and Douglas Reeves 
Article: Does This Count by Lee Ann Jung
Article: Taking the Stress Out of Grading by Joe Feldman

Article: Breaking Up the Grade by Thomas R. Guskey
Video: How Much Should Homework Count with Rick Wormeli
Video: Understanding Formative v. Summative Assessment with Rick Wormeli
Video: Redos, Retakes, and Do-Overs Part 1 with Rick Wormeli
Video: Why Zeros Don't Work- A Toothbrush Analogy Video with Myron Dueck
Video: Ken O'Connor on Grading Effectively
Video: Myron Dueck on Grading v. Reporting
Video: Myron Dueck on Separating Academics from Behaviors
Article: Hanover Research on Best Practices
Article: Policy Spotlight on How Colleges Evaluate Transcripts
Article: Hanover Research Council Study
Video: Douglas Reeves on Best Practices
Article: Make Homework Central to Learning
Article: The Problem with Penalties
Article: In Providing Supports for Students, Language Matters
Article: Fair and Accurate Grading for Exceptional Learners
Article: Treating Test Anxiety
Coping Skills and Strategies to Manage Test Anxiety

Test Anxiety Resource: Virtual Calming Room