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Repair Kit for Grading, A: Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades with DVD, 2nd edition

  • Ken O'Connor

Published by Pearson (November 19th 2010) - Copyright © 2011

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ISBN-13: 9780132488631

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Communicating about student achievement requires accurate, consistent and meaningful grades.


Educators interested in examining and improving grading practices should ask the following questions:


• Am I confident that students in my classroom receive consistent, accurate and meaningful grades that support learning? 

• Am I confident that the grades I assign students accurately reflect my school or district’s published performance standards and desired learning outcomes?


In many schools, the answers to these questions often range from "not very" to "not at all." When that’s the case, grades are "broken" and teachers and schools need a "repair kit" to fix them. A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades, 2/e  gives teachers and administrators 15 ways to make the necessary repairs.

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Table of contents


Table of Contents




            Chapter 1   Setting the Stage

Key Definitions

                Purpose(s) for Grades

Underpinning Issues



          Objectivity and Professional Judgment

Student Involvement

                The 15 Fixes


Chapter 2   Fixes for Practices That Distort Achievement

Fix 1  Don’t include student behaviors (effort, participation, adherence to class rules, etc.) in grades; include only achievement.

          Student Involvement


Fix 2  Don’t reduce marks on “work” submitted late; provide support for the learner.

          Student Involvement


Fix 3  Don’t give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement.

          Student Involvement


Fix 4  Don’t punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement.

          Student Involvement


Fix 5  Don’t consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately.


Fix 6  Don’t include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence.



Chapter 3   Fixes for Low-Quality or Poorly Organized Evidence

Fix 7  Don’t organize information in grading records by assessment methods or simply summarize into a single grade; organize and report evidence by standards/learning goals.


Fix 8  Don’t assign grades using inappropriate or unclear performance standards; provide clear descriptions of achievement expectations.

          Student Involvement


Fix 9  Don’t assign grades based on a student’s achievement compared to other students; compare each student’s performance to preset standards.


Fix 10         Don’t rely on evidence gathered using assessments that fail to meet standards of quality; rely only on quality assessments.



            Chapter 4   Fixes for Inappropriate Grade Calculation

Fix 11         Don’t rely only on the mean; consider other measures of central tendency and use professional judgment.


Fix 12         Don’t include zeros in grade determination when evidence is missing or as punishment; use alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement, or use “I” for Incomplete or Insufficient Evidence.

          Student Involvement



            Chapter 5   Fixes to Support Learning

Fix 13         Don’t use information from formative assessments and practice to determine grades; use only summative evidence.

          Student Involvement


Fix 14         Don’t summarize evidence accumulated over time when learning is developmental and will grow with time and repeated opportunities; in those instances, emphasize more recent achievement.


Fix 15         Don’t leave students out of the grading process. Involve students; they can—and should—play key roles in assessment and grading that promote achievement.



            Chapter 6   Summary


            Appendix: Discussion Guide



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