First, I think it is important to distinguish between grading and assessment. While the primary function of assessment is to gather and interpret data to inform instruction and learning, the primary function of grading is evaluative, and the primary goal of grading is to communicate information to students and parents.
Often times, letter grades don't do a good job of communicating information about learning because students and parents aren't made aware of the components of the grading system and how much each of those components contributes to the overall grade.
Additionally, it's important to consider how you are differentiating the grading process for your ELLs. We differentiate assessment and instruction, so it is only logical that grading is differentiated as well. One important piece of this is to shift your grading paradigm from the idea that grades should reflect achievement to the idea that grades should reflect progress. For ELLs, it's important that their grades reflect English language development as well as content learning.
For all students at all ages, it's important that grading be based on learning goals. Students should participate in setting their learning goals, and in regular self assessment. This gives them buy-in to and some control over their own learning. It also requires quality feedback from the teacher.
Next time, we'll delve into the components that should be included in your grading system. Take a few minutes to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I currently differentiate my grading process for ELLs?
- What components are currently included in my grading system?
- What weight is each component given?
- How often do I include:
- Performance assessment?
- Paper and Pencil test/assignment?
- Student Self-Assessment