With only summative assessment in the grade book, how can we insure students get the practice they need?
It is the responsibility of each teacher to provide students with many opportunities to practice without penalty through in-class assignments and homework. While teachers will be able to enter practice (homework or other formative assessments) in their grade book, it will not be calculated as part of the student’s grade. School districts around the state and nation and some of our own teachers have experienced the positive change of attitude and motivation in students within a short amount of time after implementing standards-based grading. Students quickly discover that to be successful on summative assessments, they must complete the homework/practice so they can obtain helpful feedback from their teachers. FWPS teachers who have implemented standards-based grading have stated that more students are completing homework than before. Students are taking more ownership in their learning as the emphasis is on what they have actually learned, not just on what teachers have taught.
How will we motivate them to complete it and turn it in?
When teachers return homework to students with a grade, most students shove it in their backpack or binder and never look at it again. Imagine the enhanced learning opportunity for the student if instead, the teacher returned the homework with two or three meaningful comments rather than a grade?
As teachers, we realize that homework and practice tied directly to learning targets is an important component of student achievement. So when teachers use homework as a mechanism for extensive and timely feedback to the student, it conveys the message that homework is important and necessary.
Providing students with nonjudgmental written or verbal feedback enables teachers to formatively assess student understanding and provides the student safe opportunities to practice—without judgment.
How does this teach responsibility and accountability?
In a standards-based system, the emphasis is on learning. When a student doesn’t do the work, the inherent consequence is that he or she doesn’t learn the content or practicing the skill.
When we do not allow a student to turn in late work or re-do work, we deny that student the opportunity to grow character traits that are vital to student achievement, such as perseverance and persistence.
If a teacher doesn’t accept late work, the teacher sends the message that the assignment had little educational value. It’s as if teacher is saying, “Hey, it’s okay if you don’t do the work, and it’s okay if you don’t learn the content or skill.” As professional educators working to prepare students to successfully navigate the 21st century world, we can no longer accept these messages.
Granting a reduced grade or zero doesn’t teach responsibility to students who are not intrinsically motivated. It actually allows the student to avoid the accountability of demonstrating what he or she has learned, and it teaches them to shrug off important responsibilities.