Advertisement

Archive for Friday, December 2, 2011

Online petition backs standards-based grades

December 2, 2011

Advertisement

The Lawrence school district’s use of standards-based grading for sixth-graders has some fans, after all.

Richard Gwin/Journal World-Photo. Therese Brink Edgecomb, who teaches sixth-grade language arts and social studies at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, supports the use of standards-based grading for sixth-graders. She is among teachers and others who have signed an online petition in support of standards-based grading, a system that has drawn opposition from some parents and other teachers. In this photo, Edgecomb discussed the system during an informational forum, "Grading for Learning," conducted Nov. 29, 2011, at Southwest Middle School.

Richard Gwin/Journal World-Photo. Therese Brink Edgecomb, who teaches sixth-grade language arts and social studies at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, supports the use of standards-based grading for sixth-graders. She is among teachers and others who have signed an online petition in support of standards-based grading, a system that has drawn opposition from some parents and other teachers. In this photo, Edgecomb discussed the system during an informational forum, "Grading for Learning," conducted Nov. 29, 2011, at Southwest Middle School.

Support for the grading system — which gives students “S,” “M,” “T” and “E” grades based on approaching, satisfying or exceeding state standards — is showing up through an online petition created by an art teacher at Cordley School.

The effort counters another online petition, one created by parents upset that their new middle schoolers are receiving grades previously reserved for elementary students.

“We just wanted to make sure that school board members and the community understand that there are other voices out there,” said Julia Rose-Weston, in her 17th year teaching art at Cordley. “There is another voice in this community that believes it’s the best practice for our kids.”

Earlier this week, district administrators conducted two forums on the topic. The events drew dozens of opponents, many of whom maintain that standards-based grades overwhelm teachers, spur confusion and drain students of motivation.

Rose-Weston counters that while traditional letter grades are fine, use of standards-based grading is the most effective way to:

• Inform students about their mastery of knowledge.

• Inform teachers about what they should teach.

• Inform parents about specific learning.

“It assesses the child instead of averaging a bunch of assignments,” she said.

Rose-Weston launched the petition nearly a month ago, and as of Thursday evening it had gathered 46 signees. About 20 are teachers in the district, she said.

Comments

Windemere 3 years ago

Ditto. SBG should end in 5th grade. In middle school: report progress on standards at the quarters ONLY; Use for 6th grade the traditional letter grades that 7th and 8th graders get (this isn't happening now, though they seem to imply that it is); Don't separate out Learner Behaviors in middle schools since students need to understand the vital connection between overall success and work habits and plain old ethics. The way it is now, a student can CHEAT on a test, and take that test over with NO academic penalty. Sure, he might "get in trouble" and it can be reflected in his Learner Behavior mark, but if handled in this SBG fashion, the student is sent the message that he gets a do-over even if he cheats. And people wonder why parents of kids above elementary are alarmed?

tdurgan 3 years ago

Sorry for your misinformation.... but your assumptions above simply are not true.

Jayhawks64 3 years ago

Guess you haven't read O'Connor's 15 fixes for grades. One of the main guiding documents the district is fixated on utilizing.

Windemere 3 years ago

To what are you referring? Just want to know.

Windemere 3 years ago

This is taken directly from a document called "15 Fixes for Broken Grades" which was handed out to 6th grade teachers as part of their training a few months ago for SBG; this is district policy: "Don’t punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement." Translated, that means that even if a student cheats, they are to be provided a do-over. Hmm, in college, do you think most professors who caught students cheating would apply some "other consequence" and "reassess to determine the actual level of achievement."? Of course 6th graders are not in college. But they are not in 2nd grade either. Get them prepared for life, they are ready, it's the responsible thing to do for kids above elementary school.

Selective_Tourettes 3 years ago

I have yet to see ANY long term published study that shows SBG being directly attributed to increases in students' performance in the middle school and high school levels.

The Round Rock Independent School District in Texas found itself in a very similar situation. After hearing from the parents and teachers and actually looking into dissenting opinions and research, they scrapped the SBG initiative in middle and high schools.

Read the Superintendent’s announcement here: http://roundrockisd.org/index.aspx?re...

See some local news coverage here: http://www.kvue.com/home/Controversia...

Read through the blog created by parents in RRISD here: http://rrisdconcernedparents.com/

Here are a couple of quotes from the book, Formative Assessment and Standards Based Grading, by one of the leading SBG ”experts” Robert J. Marzano.

“Where there is interest in this system, however, there is also quite a bit of poor practice on top of considerable confusion about its defining characteristics.” (pg.17)

“While this system seems like good practice, without giving teachers guidance and support on how to collect and interpret the assessment data with which scores like advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic are assigned, standards-based reporting can be highly inaccurate. Indeed, at the writing of this book, no major study (that we are aware of) has demonstrated that simply grading in a standards-based manner enhances student achievement.” (pg.18)

It has been established, demonstrated and agreed upon by parents and board members at the meetings this week that there is absolutely no continuity/consistency in the use of SBG grading and reporting at this time. It’s not just a matter of the stupid parents being most familiar with the traditional letter grading system and are resistant to change, one of the major issues here is that the district is implementing a new process without proper preparation and training. As Marzano states, this scenario leads to highly inaccurate reporting.

Selective_Tourettes 3 years ago

Another BIG issue I have is with O’Conner, another major player in the SBG realm, and some of his core principles or frameworks of SBG. O’Conner is referenced often in USD 497 literature regarding SBG. SBG requires the separation of teaching to standards and “Learner Behaviors”. I understand the intentions of this, remove all the noise so you can drill down and identify to what extent the student actually knows the standards. However, if you dig a little deeper (Mr. Fagan) you’ll find more specifics. Take a look at a web based presentation by Mr. O’Conner himself, in it he discusses his 15 Fixes for Broken Grades.

http://www.assessmentinst.com/15-fixe... Take note of items 1-6.

1) Don't include student behaviors (effort, participation, adherence to class rules, etc) in grades; include only achievement. 2) Don't reduce marks on "work" submitted late; provide support for the learner. 3) Don't give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement. 4) Don't punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement. 5) Don't consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately. 6) Don't include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence.

Standards Based Grading is SO MUCH more than just that the report cards look different than you’re used to in traditional letter grading. Please take the time to look into it further.

Selective_Tourettes 3 years ago

I would like to know if there was indeed a training session for USD 497 teachers on the 15 Fixes for Broken Grades. I've been told that there was a training session this past summer. Take the time to read through it and/or watch the web seminar linked above.

I can see where they’re coming from in wanting to isolate the teaching and learning of the standards that they will be tested on but I don’t see ANY details on what they’re going to do with “behavior “ other than the student will get a grade. How is the student’s behavior weighted in determining the students success and advancement?

Windemere 3 years ago

My understanding is that it (behavior) isn't.

Yes, in the summer training the 15 Fixes were handed out to 6th gr teachers as PART of their training -- they were told this is how you are to operate this year.

Windemere 3 years ago

And don't buy the false dichotomy that "if traditional, percentage-based letter grades are used, then we are failing to teach our kids the standards. That's not an option because we are mandated to teach the standards!" You can record TLG and teach standards. The tests and the work used to generate those percentage-based grades can correlate with the standards. SBG is a way to make it easier for the district to comply with No Child Left Behind. We are sorry you have that mandate, which leads to this intense teaching-to-the-test. But parents are not going to sit back and watch while their kids who generally achieve a bit above the "standards" (e.g. B- to A range) are not properly motivated to achieve to the best of their abilities. There are wonderful teachers out there. The teacher who presented this week is clearly smart, organized, interested in ALL kids, not focusing primarily on those who have trouble meeting the standards. She was convincing that she seeks out opportunities to motivate those B- to A level kids. But I submit to you that the burden of SBG means that not all teachers can be this proactive, sadly. They constantly hear the mantra that they must focus on getting all kids to meet standards and kids who can do more are getting shorted. Not in every class or with every teacher, but too many are getting shorted. TLG gives them hope, gives them a way to go beyond "S."

ConcernedResident 3 years ago

While I value Julia Rose-Weston's choice to express her opinion, I strongly disagree with it and must point out the fact that she is an elementary art teacher. SBG may work well in her content area at the elementary level, but it does not work well in most core areas at the secondary level.

I have yet to speak with a middle school teacher who comes from a junior high setting that feels SBG is better than traditional grading. The few middle school teachers I know who are in favor of SBG come from the elementary school setting. When it comes to the Skyward used for 7th through 12th grades, I believe elementary teachers don't know what they are missing.

Skyward for 7th through 12th graders is an extremely powerful tool. When paired with Skyward, I believe a traditional letter grade provides all of the information that SBG does and more. Plus, it is much more user friendly for teachers, parents, and students. It also has the advantage of preparing students for receiving a GPA in high school.

If parents of a 7th or 8th grader do not feel they have received enough information about Standards with a letter grade and Skyward, they can always utilize the data provided by the district with each child's standardized test results. They are very detailed.

We test our kids to death. Why not leave traditional grading alone and use the results from the many tests students take each year most efficiently?

A very important, yet obvious argument against SBG in middle school is that is confusing for parents, teachers, support staff, and students to use two different grading systems within one school.

SBG should remain at the elementary level.

Windemere 3 years ago

Very well said. Here's something pretty scary that hasn't yet been mentioned in any of these comments: what will the effect be on teacher retention and recruiting given how many teachers above elementary are opposed to the expansion of SBG into middle schools (not to mention the way the district has handled this whole matter)? Shudder.

sugarmonkey 3 years ago

Wouldn't it be nice if the district established an environment where all teachers and principals (regardless of their stance on an issue) could speak openly without being afraid? Unfortunately, our district does not support opposition to their cause. I found it interesting that many teachers who support SBG felt free to state their opinion (in fact, the district even allowed one teacher to give a rah rah speech supporting SBG) but there was no teacher to speak out against it. I find it ironic that a letter signed by ALL the 6th grade teachers at West MS and a letter sent from South MS teachers was sent to the district and our board members, however no one was willing to stand up for their beliefs. WHy would they after School Board President Mark Bradford said that if teachers don't like the decision made they don't have to work or live here. I think this illustrates the overall environment that our district created and that our SB President supports. I guess if you agree with the district, please feel free to speak, if you don't "you better watch out, you better not cry....the district will see you when you are speaking, and knows when you disagree..." ho ho ho Hang in there teachers!

hellomynameis 3 years ago

You better watch out ! You better not speak! You better not teach- Anything but S.B.G. The school board president wants you out of town! Dr. Doll will watch you while you're teaching He knows when you're giving E He knows who opposes SBG So only give S for goodness sake!

Windemere 3 years ago

I'm not ROTLFLMAO,. but I am grinning. You get an E.

MarcoPogo 3 years ago

Today's school kids were screwed the moment that plastic slides were installed and the playground covered with torn-up tires as "ground cushioning".

cato_the_elder 3 years ago

And don't forget the banning of dodgeball, all across the country. One of the worst, most foolish wussy mistakes ever.

sad_lawrencian 3 years ago

Standards-based grades are really stupid, and I can't believe people (parents) would go along with such a scheme.

Windemere 3 years ago

Most are OK with them in elementary. Except give those kids a mark between S & E!! The parents who have the time & energy to learn what SBG means for grades above elementary cannot believe our community is even thinking about pushing that system further. Problem is, people are busy and it's the holidays.

sickofdummies 3 years ago

I think there are quite a few parents who are NOT ok with SBG in the upper elementary grades. I think that many of us have seen that this is NOT working properly, and have seen it be detrimental to their students overall work ethic and enthusiasm, as well as academic growth. That is one of the reasons why seeing it progress into middle schools has so many parents upset. While the focus is on stopping it from progressing further, I'd be interested to see feedback from parents on its use in the upper levels of elementary.

Windemere 3 years ago

They do teach cursive (in 3rd, I believe). There are lots of informative posts that give the reasons why SBG should not be used above elementary. Links are below In a nutshell, using SBG makes it easier to comply with No Child Left Behind. There's huge pressure to make all kids "meet standards" which are the specific learning goals by subject area. Parents are happy we have standards. But they say that our district's SBG does not give enough incentives for kids to reach their potential. District emphasizes this: "meeting standards is the goal." Not doing your best, not maximizing your potential. Here are links, just peruse the comments. sorry if this is repetitive: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/nov... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/nov...

Blessed4x 3 years ago

46? Really? Here I thought there was this huge ground swell of support for this bad idea. Then I find out at the very end that a whopping 46 people have signed it in a month's time. Of course, if they'd have led the story with that fact, no one would have read any further.

Windemere 3 years ago

Blessed, it actually is at most 9 Lawrencians who are not district teachers or staff who signed this "Keep" petition, according to the very first comment right here -- just scroll to the top. That is 9 vs. 217 for the Stop SBG petition. If the issues weren't so confusing and people were not so busy, there would be a huge outcry over this issue. Unfortunately, many people think the SBG grades of T, M, S and E and just different letters than A through F, but otherwise the systems are basically the same. NOT true.

sickofdummies 3 years ago

In speaking with a middle school administrator yesterday, he was confused when I reference M's and T's. He didn't seem to know what I was talking about. At last, he responded, "Oh, yeah. Standards based grading." Its telling that even the administration staff seems to be oblivious to SBG.

Don Whiteley 3 years ago

Of course, we know that the children of all Lawrence parents are above average, so their parents will dispute anything the State or the schools do to dispute that fact. How about this as an idea: every school will measure their child's performance against their parent's expectations? That way, we could concluslively prove that all Lawrence children are above average; and if we don't, then we'll call it "the dumbing down of America", because obviously, the entire country should see that your children are above average.

Jayhawks64 3 years ago

DV,

I think "the dumbing down of America" started the moment you posted that comment. A bit touchy late on a Friday afternoon?

Windemere 3 years ago

Some want to portray this as Hyper competitive Helicopter Moms Tormenting their Kids Til They Bring Home The Highest Marks Available On Every Report Card. This is false. The kids this hurts the most are those who tend to be average or slightly above average in achievement (those who would be around a B- to an A). Our district is pretty good at providing gifted services. It's the kids who feel stuck at "S" and who know that "E" is nearly unattainable who get short-changed in the current system.

ConcernedResident 3 years ago

To quote Ms. Rose-Weston “They want to treat a sixth-grader like a high schooler.” This is incorrect. I believe that sixth, seventh, and eighth graders should NOT be treated like high school students.

In fact, they are not, as seventh and eighth graders' GPAs and credits matter very little. I can only think of eighth grade sports participation as a case when a student's lack of passing grades can affect his or her life outside of the school day. A cumulative GPA means nothing to a student "graduating" from middle school.

Receiving letter grades in middle school is practice. It is preparation. Middle School is a time to figure out how a 4.0 grading scale works. This preparation is necessary because in ninth grade and beyond a student's GPA does matter and can actually affect his or her life. Not passing high school courses can also affect a student's ability to receive a high school diploma.

I want my children to be prepared for this reality. Do you?

I am not saying that children should not master standards. However, this should be married with traditional grades. Let's get Lawrence students prepared for high school and prepared for the real world.

I believe students rise to expectations.

weeslicket 3 years ago

just wondering:
how many of us grown-ups here receive letter grades in our current jobs? do any of us get evaluated according to performance standards?

Windemere 3 years ago

Of course people are evaluated on standards in their jobs. But here are a couple of the contrasts between SBG in practice in our district and the "real world". In SBG, a very large percentage of kids get the mark of S. Very, very few get the one mark above S, which is E. In fact, some teachers say they "never" give the mark of E. And because it's all about "progress," E's are not supposed to be given til well into the year when there's a great deal of "evidence" that the child has earned an E. Yes, I know some give more E's. But there would not be the opposition we're all seeing if this problem of being "stuck at S" with very little hope of ever getting an E were not widespread. In contrast, in the real world (and in grades above 6th), people have a MUCH better chance of attaining a mark that's above "meeting standard." Students have a good chance of moving from a B+ to an A. That's motivating. Employees have a chance of being promoted and/or getting a raise. Who'd work to the best of their ability if they didn't have a decent chance of ever getting a raise or a promotion?

Second, in SBG "Learner Behaviors" are strictly separated. In the real world, this isn't reality. If you're a bank teller who doesn't make mistakes when you are on the job (you meet that important "standard"), but you frequently don't show up for work for no good reason, I am guessing you will not be very successful, probably will be fired. SBG does not weigh heavily enough these "Behaviors." Kids do not properly get the crucial connection between work habits and overall success. Again, OK for elementary. Not the right system above that level.

weeslicket 3 years ago

from windemere: Of course people are evaluated on standards in their jobs. and: In SBG, a very large percentage of kids get the mark of S. Very, very few get the one mark above S, which is E. and: Very, very few get the one mark above S, which is E. E's are not supposed to be given til well into the year when there's a great deal of "evidence" that the child has earned an E. "stuck at S" with very little hope of ever getting an E If you're a bank teller who doesn't make mistakes when you are on the job (you meet that important "standard"), but you frequently don't show up for work for no good reason, I am guessing you will not be very successful, probably will be fired.

question again (since the first 2 were not answered directly): how is sbg different from "grading" in our adult lives?

windermer states also: In contrast, in the real world (and in grades above 6th), people have a MUCH better chance of attaining a mark that's above "meeting standard." really? perhaps that explains the recent rise in median salaries. or, to ask more politely: please show me this data.

and also: Kids do not properly get the crucial connection between work habits and overall success really? show me that data also.

windemere's question: Who'd work to the best of their ability if they didn't have a decent chance of ever getting a raise or a promotion? now, that's a good question.

Windemere 3 years ago

Well, I thought your first question was rhetorical. I think it goes without saying that (probably) no adult gets letter grades in his or her job. None I've heard of anyway. But anecdotal evidence indicates to me that people are sometimes evaluated by a rubric that outlines the expectations of their job, so, while they may not label achievment S, M , T etc, their employer is assessing if "standards" are being met. Phew. So my response skipped all that (which I'd thought was not necessary) and went right to what I thought was the heart of the matter, which is "if standards are OK in the "real world" then aren't they OK in school?" And I tried to answer that.

SBG is different than grading in our own lives because 1) it offers insufficent incentives to perform at a level above the standards. I'll try to elaborate on what I think is your point: You may think the American worker lacks mobility, can't get ahead, doesn't get the raise he/she deserves, etc. For some, that's true. And of course, we are in an economic downturn these last few years. But ours is a system that has far superior incentives and mobility and economic freedom than many other nations. I think the typical college graduate who works hard, shows ambition and contributues positively to his or her employer is generally rewarded in a time-frame the employee finds acceptable (or he or she gets a new job where he or she feels rewarded). There is a labor market -- companies want to get and retain good workers. That leads them to reward good workers (in general). My understanding is that the unemployment rate now for college graduates is 4%. That's not high unemployment. We can agree to disagree as to whether or not you think our workers generally have hope of getting ahead. I think they generally do -- a heck of a lot more hope than in other economies around the globe. And 2) SBG is different from grading in own lives because it under-emphasizes work habits. I thought my example of the bank teller illustrated that. You're free not to be persauded by that example.

Windemere 3 years ago

weeslicket says: perhaps that explains the recent rise in median salaries. or, to ask more politely: please show me this data. I don't have handy the kind of data I think you're requesting. Neither does the district have a compelling trove of data to tell us that SBG is the best reporting system for our district. So we're left with assessing the facts as we know them and applying common sense to decide if SBG is good or not.

There is a very significant number of parents with first-hand experience of how SBG fails to motivate their children to try their best. If you went to the Discussions, you heard anecdotes that make this clear. Would there be this outcry if this were not a problem? You ask for data - at least one type of data would have been very good to gather, i.e. if the district, many months ago, would have had an open discussion about the idea of moving SBG into middle schools and polled parents about it, actually collected their opinions! And the 6th grade teachers -- maybe consider their opinions, too. What a wacky idea.

Regarding your request for data about the "crucial connection between work habits and overall success" Neither side has this kind of data. If our district had such data that clearly supported expanding SBG in our district, then you can be sure they'd be presenting it.

So, absent any data about the "crucial connection" I mention, what ought parents do when confronted with a big surprise in Aug. about how their 6th grader will be graded (this surprise announcement also stated that SBG WILL be expanded to 7th and 8th soon -- then they quickly said Oops, um, we didn't mean to say that)? A parent ought to think about the built-in incentives that this grading system has (or doesn't have). And compare that to how children are likely to be motivated (or not) under such a system. And they look for evidence from the real world. It strikes many people as common sense that segregating high achievement on say, Math, from whether or not that Math student goes to class or cheats or turns assignments in on time emphasizes those "behaviors" LESS than if the teacher is allowed to have those behaviors affect the academic grade. Were you at the first Discussion on Nov. 29 at SWMS? If you were, you heard the woman you stood up and told the real-life example from her sister (or sister in law-can't recall) down in Austin TX area who teaches in a high school that pulls from both SBG and non-SBG middle schools. She stated that HS teachers there see clearly that kids from SBG middle schools have work habits that are inferior to those of the non-SBG kids, e.g. willingness to practice, do homework, etc. It was alarming. Maybe not to you, but it sure was to the parents in the room.

So we don't have compelling data on either side. Parents who are opposed are trying to do what they firmly believe is in their childrens' best interests. As it should be.

weeslicket 3 years ago

thanks for the responses. i am glad you arrived at the understanding that there is no "evidence" that shows one to be more "motivating" than the other.

so, you are left with only "strong feelings" and anecdotes.

Windemere 3 years ago

Just curious. Were you at either of the Discussions?

Selective_Tourettes 3 years ago

So given that there is no data or evidence and we're only left with "strong feelings" and anecdotes, would you agree that implementing this new system amounts to nothing more than an experiment? In the computer geek world you NEVER install a beta system in a production environment. Even after the beta has been thoroughly tested and locked down, you don't roll it out without proper training of the end-users.

Windemere 3 years ago

Yes, acting on the very best information we can find. And wanting the district to give serious consideration of our concerns and these anecdotes. Seems reasonable to me.

Selective_Tourettes 3 years ago

Without long term data, how can the "Hawthorne effect" be avoided or at least factored in? Personally, after weighing the “benefits” of SBG with the concerns based on real life examples and witnessing the passion of those supporting this untested (long term) and unproven system, I could completely see the potential for the "Hawthorne effect" creeping into the perspective of those supporters. I know that they are very passionate and caring and desperately want to help all the children succeed and we are very grateful for that. This is not intended as an insult to the teachers at all. I'm all for finding newer and better processes and technology that will help the students and staff succeed. Without long term evidence of SBG directly influencing an increase of productivity of a significant percentage of students across all performance levels, while not showing a decrease in performance of any, O’Connor and Marzano amount to nothing more than some guys on late night TV infomercials. Causation not corrolation!

I think the use of Rubrics on projects and assignment are valuable tools that help establish and communicate expectations as well as justifying grading results but beyond that I don’t see the value in changing from traditional letter grading to SBG and you can forget about the separation of “Learner Behavior” and 15 Fixes for Broken Grades. I’ve seen the use of Rubrics on assignments which were then given traditional 0-100 grades that were factored in for an overall traditional letter grade. That was a functional process that contributed to an environment that provided detailed information, motivation and productive feedback for all students.

The Hawthorne effect is a form of reactivity whereby subjects improve or modify an aspect of their behavior being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they know they are being studied, not in response to any particular experimental manipulation.

The term was coined in 1950 by Henry A. Landsberger when analysing older experiments from 1924-1932 at the Hawthorne Works (a Western Electric factory outside Chicago). Hawthorne Works had commissioned a study to see if its workers would become more productive in higher or lower levels of light. The workers' productivity seemed to improve when changes were made and slumped when the study was concluded. It was suggested that the productivity gain occurred due to the impact of the motivational effect on the workers as a result of the interest being shown in them. Although illumination research of workplace lighting formed the basis of the Hawthorne effect, other changes such as maintaining clean work stations, clearing floors of obstacles, and even relocating workstations resulted in increased productivity for short periods. Thus the term is used to identify any type of short-lived increase in productivity.

Clevercowgirl 3 years ago

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Is this the best that the Mediocrity Militia can do?

weeslicket 3 years ago

well, since i seem to be talking to mostly 2 (maybe 3-5) people, let me simply state:

one of us has delivered almost 30 years of instruction, evaluation (both TLG and SBG*), guidance, and motivation to students. i'll give you 2-5 guesses who hasn't.

*G for "grades" shoud be assessment (A), or evaluation (E).

Jayhawks64 3 years ago

Wee, It must have been a wasted 30 years because all you've added to this discussion is a weak attempt at showing how superior you are to everyone on this blog. I've read many of your other posts and it is obvious you are always the smartest person in the room so why don't you educate us about SBG rather than toot your own horn.

Windemere 3 years ago

Wees, still wondering if you attended either of the Discussions.

Still wondering what your response is to the concern that SBG as our district has implemented it (very little hope of any mark above S) has the significant downside that many kids are not sufficiently motivated to perform to the best of their abilities. Since you provide so little information, I can only assume that your answer is one, or a combination of, the following: 1. you think parents/students are lying when they state this concern 2. you think to some degree this concern is legitimate, but it doesn't affect enough students to merit any action to address it 3. you dismiss this concern because you simply don't like the idea that students are motivated by any kind of grade, whether it be an A or an E. 4. you dismiss this concern because SBG makes it easier for teachers to meet district/No Child mandates; with SBG, teachers can devote more time focusing on the kids who are at risk for not meeting standards. This tension is sad because it pits the good goal of getting kids to meet standards against parents' desire to ensure that their kids are properly motivated to reach their full potential in school.

As to this last item #4, one cannot expect parents to sit quietly by and do nothing while they observe their children lack motivation to do their best. Especially when there is one fairly simple thing that could be done to help the problem, which is create a mark between S and E. If only the administration gave real hope that this might be considered....

The work habits issue has a lot of sub-issues, so it's not as easy to break it down as is the motivation issue, but I suppose you are saying somethink like 1. you don't believe SBG leads to the kind of problem that HS teacher in Austin reports.
and/or 2. you don't like the fact that in the real world success is correlated with work habits/behaviors; you think it ought only be correlated with "what you know or can do" to use parlance of SBG. As to #2, hard to know how to respond to that other than to say one who believes that is not grounded in reality.

Truly, would appreciate hearing (any concrete) responses to all these parent concerns.

Windemere 3 years ago

weeslicket, it's common on forums such as this to shorten posters' names, had no idea that shortening your name would offend you. Again, would appreciate hearing from you a more detail explanation of why you feel the way you do.

weeslicket 3 years ago

again, "strong feelings" and anecdotes sometimes lead to unsupportable assumptions.

let's review some facts: 1. i did not attend either of these discussions. i am sure you will feel relieved to know that i was at home evaluating the student perfomances of the day, and preparing adjustments for the next day. 2. nearly 30 years of experience in instruction and evaluation allows me to make decisions based on knowledge, rather than on "forceful emotions". 3. i certainly did not call the parents liars. again, strong feelings sometimes lead to poor assumptions. 4. it has already been established on this thread (and others) that in "the real world" people are evaluated according to perfomance standards (which do not arrive in the form of grades). these would be the work habits and behaviors which are referenced above. 5. it has also been established on these threads that these concerns have not been supported by factual information. emotions, yes. anecdotes, yes. knowledge, no. 6. nearly all secondary schools, colleges and universities still operate on some form of a grade point average. how sbg doevtails with that structure does require some investigation and training. (which has been going on for about 7-8 years now) 7. unless a student has recently arrived in lawrence, they have been recieving sbg all along (for about the past 7-8 years). as for me personally, i just think that is an interesting fact to keep in mind. 8. training and support for middle school teachers (who are at the center of all this) is a real concern. as is time for these teachers to complete these evaluations.

Windemere 3 years ago

Quoting from your comment and offering responses. 1. i did not attend either of these discussions. i am sure you will feel relieved to know that i was at home evaluating the student perfomances of the day, and preparing adjustments for the next day. ME: Your assumption that I am relieved is incorrect. I'll just note that if you had attended a Discussion, you'd have heard multiple comments from parents expressing gratitude about how hard teachers work.

  1. nearly 30 years of experience in instruction and evaluation allows me to make decisions based on knowledge, rather than on "forceful emotions". ME: Plead guilty in having an emotional reaction to the notion that kids in our district are lacking sufficient motivation to do their best in school due in large part to our grading system; also plead guilty to having fairly strong negative emotions to the district's repeated statement that meeting the standards "is the goal." The fact that E is purposely placed at the bottom of the "key" on student reports is just one indicator of the priority the district places on encouraging achievement.

  2. i certainly did not call the parents liars. again, strong feelings sometimes lead to poor assumptions. ME: I didn't say that you called anyone a liar; I did not assume it. If you review my post, I said I was speculating about possible reasons you feel the way you do. I've been asking for information.

  3. it has already been established on this thread (and others) that in "the real world" people are evaluated according to perfomance standards (which do not arrive in the form of grades). these would be the work habits and behaviors which are referenced above. ME: Exactly. In the real world, work habits are vital. In SBG, not enough emphasis is placed on work habits. As has been said many times, the outcry has to do with what age we start emphasizing work habits more strongly. We say middle school, including 6th grade, is the time to start doing so. cont......

Windemere 3 years ago

  1. it has also been established on these threads that these concerns have not been supported by factual information. emotions, yes. anecdotes, yes. knowledge, no. ME: Again, neither side has compelling evidence/data/research. So you have only your anecdotal evidence to form your opinion. You are welcome to your opinion, of course, but it's not "knowledge" in the sense of compelling data/information. Are parents supposed to turn off their minds, ignore information that questions SBG and just go along with all the district's policies because we are told "trust us"?

  2. nearly all secondary schools, colleges and universities still operate on some form of a grade point average. how sbg doevtails with that structure does require some investigation and training. (which has been going on for about 7-8 years now) ME: Agree with you.

  3. unless a student has recently arrived in lawrence, they have been recieving sbg all along (for about the past 7-8 years). as for me personally, i just think that is an interesting fact to keep in mind. ME: I have many years' experience with SBG. It's OK in elementary (exc need that mark between S and E), the outcry is about having it used above elementary. The history is, kids have had to switch to trad letter grades in 7th. We are just saying keep all middle school grades the same. 6th is in MS now, sure seems to make sense to a lot of folks to have consistent policy at that level.

  4. training and support for middle school teachers (who are at the center of all this) is a real concern. as is time for these teachers to complete these evaluations. ME: Absolutely. What 6th gr teachers are asked to do seems to be unreasonable and a huge burden. And based on conversations I've had wtih teachers, it's not just the issue of a temporary learning curve. Posters here have been making this point for weeks.

weeslicket 3 years ago

thanks for the reply. for the most part i understand your concerns. but i feel that i haven't been clear enough on a couple of points. 1. there is no compelling data (that i am aware of) that establishes the efficacy of
either TLG or SBG as being a significant "motivating factor" in student learning; never mind growing up and being an adult. i really do disagree with this portion of your group's arguments.
2. having used both "systems" or "tools", so to speak, i do think that SBG provides better, and more useful "descriptors" of student learning (i.e., mastery of standards of performance), and other life skills (e.g., self-control, time management, independent work, collaborative work). this is my opinion. i will only remind you that i have used both systemic tools for a very long time before arriving at this opinion.
3. having said all that, parents have a profound responsibility to advocate on behalf of their kids, and their community. you and i just don't have an argument on that point. 4. i would also never "just trust" the district.
5. unreasonable work demands and undue burdens. yep. i know all about that.

Windemere 3 years ago

Thanks for your reply. Please know that from the beginning of this debate (in Aug), parents have been speaking with a variety of teachers about this matter. Including those on both sides of the SBG issue.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.