There are a lot of questions, however, about dealing with various stakeholders. How do you deal with parents---especially of the helicopter variety who often value grades as opposes to what they represent? What about colleges who are dealing with transcripts? What do you do when the Athletic Director needs to check eligibility and you don't have enough information about the students?
Parents are more of a complex issue. As for colleges? Hey, by now, they know that grades are different from teacher to teacher...and school to school. They have a portfolio of information with which to look at prospective students. I'm not going to fret about the one or two letters represented on a transcript for a kid and that what they mean is going to cause the abandonment of hope. Heck, if this study noted in Education Week is any good, then academic performance in 8th grade is a better predictor for college/work readiness than a high school transcript. Eligibility? Just go with a Pass/Fail approach---that's all that's needed. Don't sweat the details.
I was pondering some of these things (again) after being at the conference this week, and also because of some of the grading-related posts and articles that turned up in my feed.
- John Spencer wonders What If Grades Don't Matter? and instead we focused on providing meaningful feedback. I don't know that we will ever escape giving grades---and perhaps we shouldn't. But we can work on reshaping what they mean and what we use them for.
- Pittsburgh administrators are caught up in the crossfire now that a 50 is the lowest score a student can receive. This type of thing could be handled better, to be sure. The "50" is not a percent, as is being assumed/reported---it's a score being used to make the overall A-F scale more equitable. They will have some PR cleanup for awhile.
- Fairfax schools also continue to have woes due to their percentage/letter grade scale of choice. I've been watching this one brew for months. Oh, how I wish the parents of this district would bust chops based on what constitutes good practice instead of pimping for a couple of percentage points.
- And, in lighter news, Ryan over at I Thought a Think directed readers to a 1990 article on The Dead Grandmother/Exam syndrome. Go read...and laugh 'til it hurts.