As teachers begin to incorporate formative and summative assessments into their classroom practices, we must reevaluate what ought to appear in the grade book. Historically, participation points, worksheet grades, and even a signed syllabus have warranted an entry into the grade book (not to mention the more ridiculous practices such as points for Kleenex boxes brought in). Teachers, however, are beginning to own the fact that a grade ought to reflect what a student knows and is able to do. If work ethic and participation are valued, they should be reported on elsewhere.
A side effect to this movement is that teachers simply have far fewer grades in their grade book. In the early portion of a unit, we know students don’t know the material (that’s why they are in the course!). Should they be punished with poor grades while they are still practicing? Many educators are leaving those formative assessments out of the grade book and are only recording summative measures. However, summative measures do not happen every day. But, students, parents, and administrators often continue to look for a changed in the grade as evidence of daily progress. Quite simply, a grade book may no longer give daily updates on the progress of a student.
- Where then do we look for daily updates on student progress?
- Do we have a method to report that information?
- If a student is grounded on Friday because of poor grades, when will a parent likely see a change in the grade if the next summative measure isn’t coming along right away?