09-19-13: Revisions to secondary grading practices take effect this fall
09-19-13: Revisions to secondary grading practices take effect this fall
Posted on 09/19/2013

Beginning this fall, junior high and high school students who retake classroom tests or other assessments to improve their grades will have a revised set of guidelines to follow that specify when and how they can take the reassessments.

 

The revised guidelines are part of ongoing changes to district grading practices that have been phased in at junior high and high schools since fall 2011.

 

The Puyallup School Board heard a report about the revised reassessment guidelines at its July 1 meeting.

 

Image“The goal is for our students to become more successful learners, and allowing them to reassess gives them another opportunity to show increased learning,” said Chrys Sweeting, assistant superintendent of instruction, learning, curriculum, and assessment.

 

The revised guidelines, which are effective on the first day of school, will also bring consistency from one classroom to the next and from one school to the next, she said.

 

The guidelines state that students can retake “summative assessments.” These assessments measure a student’s work over time and are designed to allow students to demonstrate achievement toward course learning standards.

 

Chapter tests, midterm exams, reports, projects, performances (such as singing or playing an instrument), and classroom demonstrations are examples of summative assessments.

 

Students will not be allowed to retake final end-of-semester exams due to the time teachers need to grade those exams and submit final report card scores, Sweeting said.

 

A student is allowed to reassess at least once within 10 school days of receiving a summative assessment. After 10 school days, it is up to the teacher’s discretion whether or not to allow the student to reassess.

 

Reassessment may be the same test, a portion of the same test, or a different test that measures the same or a similar standard.

 

The guidelines also state that before a student retakes a test, he or she must demonstrate “a reasonable evidence of learning.” A student could, for example, complete a reading or homework assignment related to the information tested, Sweeting said.

 

When a student retakes a summative assessment, the most current score — even if lower than the original grade — is the one that will count as the current grade, Sweeting said. Teachers have responded positively to the revised assessment guidelines, Sweeting said. More than 120 staff members attended a workshop in early summer to learn more about assessment practices.Image

 

A task force made up of junior high and high school teacher representatives met this past year to review and offer feedback on junior high and high school grading practices.

 

The revised reassessment guidelines apply to all classes, including general education, Honors, and Advanced Placement, Sweeting said.

 

Another change to junior high and high school grading practices relates to the reporting of student behaviors such as effort, attendance, and class participation. A “Citizenship Skills” section has been added to the report card to mark these behaviors.

 

Walker High and Glacier View Junior High teachers have already tried out a new rubric for scoring students on Citizenship Skills, and more schools are expected to field test the reporting method this year, Sweeting said.

 

Behavior also is reported separately at the elementary school level, which moved to a revised grading system in 2003. Elementary students, for example, receive an O for outstanding, S for satisfactory, or N for needs improvement in the “Behaviors That Promote Learning” section of the report card.

 

By separating behavior from academics, students receive a course grade that reflects what they know and are able to do. Grades specifically relate to learning standards established for each grade level and every subject