Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is your gradebook supportive of learning?

When was the last time you looked at your gradebook?

Not just look at your gradebook because you are recording grades, but to actually look at your gradebook and evaluate its purpose and the reasoning behind its existence.

What is the purpose of a gradebook?

The logical answers would be...

To record and document the grades of students in a particular class.

To document how well a student did on worksheet 1.7 and record how well a student did on the chapter 4 test.

To sort and categorize our students into A, B, C, D & F grade rankings.

These answers are widely accepted and widely practiced by educators all across the globe.


What if the gradebook was more?

What if the gradebook was viewed as another tool in the student's belt for learning?

What if the gradebook gave specific and detailed feedback to students about their learning progression?

So, the challenge is, how can we use the gradebook as a formative tool in the learning process rather than a summative 'end of learning' tool that has very little if any effect on student learning?

When a student sees they received 12/20 points on worksheet 1.7, does the student really know specifically where he/she is struggling? Does the student know specifically where he/she needs to focus to master the skills/content from those 8 missed points?

When a student sees they received a 72% on the chapter 4 test, do they know specifically where and why they lost points?

What if instead of seeing worksheet 1.7, the gradebook said something like, 'determining the central idea of a text - RI.6.2?'

What if instead of seeing chapter 4 test, the gradebook chunked the test and said something like, 'finding the area of right triangles - 6.G.A.1, represent three dimensional figures - 6.G.A.4, & finding the volume of a right rectangular prism - 6.G.A.2?'

If you are an educator, a student, or even a parent wanting to help, which gradebook is going to provide you specific information on where a student is in the learning process? Which gradebook is going to encourage future learning? Which gradebook is going to lead toward an authentic and valuable conversation about how to help that student with their learning?

So, ask yourself, is your gradebook supportive of learning, or is your gradebook just full of subjective and irrelevant information...?