Notes from Douglas Reeves‘ The Learning Leader (2006)
A letter grade does not mean the same thing among grade level teachers. Does an “A” in Mrs. Brown’s 7th grade English class in Roxo Middle School equal an “A” in Mr. Cooper’s 7th grade English class in Roxo Middle School? Does a middle school “A” mean the student is prepared for the rigors of high school?
A 100 point scale uses a ten point range such as 90-100 is A, 80-89 is B, 70- 79 is C, and 60-69 is a D, therefore an F is really 50-59. If an F is put in as a O, then the students are penalized 50 points which is not proportional to the rest of their ten point range grades. An F paper of 0 has “a penalty that is six times greater than work that is done wretchedly and worthy of a grade of D”. (p. 121)
Teachers can use a 0-4 grading scale in which each interval is equal.
Classroom letter grades are poor indicators of the students’ scores on high school state graduation tests since the classroom grades are not standards-based. “A” and “B” students do fail the state graduation tests.
Classes and schools should switch from the bell curve to a mountain (mastery) curve where all students succeed.
Most public school grading systems do not reflect standards. An “A” is a summative statement since no areas are indicated for improvement (formative statement).
Whether you do your grades in a spreadsheet or in an online grading program, how do your classroom grades reflect the students’ progress toward the standards?
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007