From Rubrics to Letter Grades

In my own practice I am using rubrics more frequently and grades rarely.  One of the challenges that I have encountered is End of Term Reporting.  Our school, like many in our District and in our Province, uses letter grades and percentages for all students grades 8 through to grade 12 (note: percentages are not mandated for grades 8 & 9 by the ministry.)  I am happy to report that this coming fall our administration will not be requiring that teachers report percentages for their grade 8 students.

However, the challenge still remains — how to assign a grade/percentage that accurately communicates a student’s progress to parents.

This fall I will use modified versions of the following two resources: rubric to letter grade conversion and end of term reflection.  These are part of a much larger resource package and a half day presentation I received from a group of teachers at Rockridge Secondary in West Vancouver.  These two documents do NOT stand on their own but I present them as one possible starting point.  Please credit these teachers if you choose to use their resources.

The end of term reflection sheet requires that students reflect upon and own their learning.  The plan for improvement is one of the key pieces in the reflection because this is where the student demonstrates that they know what the next step is in their learning (i.e. what they can do to move their learning forward).  I am not intending to include it with the report card — still thinking that one through.  I think I will use it during parent-teacher conferences.

Last year, I only used the rubric to letter grade conversion (for individual units).  At the end term I looked at both trends and averages.  After reviewing the progress/achievements of  each student during the term, it was reasonably easy to determine the highest letter grade/percentage that I felt I could defend.  This coming fall I intend to also use a version of the end of term reflection sheet and give students the task of “c0-judge”.

I also intend to continue using the personalized comments that BCeSIS allows.  Note: I have enjoyed using BCeSIS at the end of term to enter the grades and comments.

I welcome your comments and feedback.

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About J Martens

Educator living and working in Vancouver BC Learning how formative assessment, literacy, inquiry, and technology serve to improve learning and increase engagement (for teachers & students).
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