Explaining Our Shift in Grading
This week I have been helping my fellows set up their gradebooks for the second semester using the 4 point rubric grading scale. This can only be done at the start of the year and at the start of the second semester. These teachers who are making the shift are courageously learning how to make new rubrics and assess learning. I want to take this opportunity to make sure everyone clearly knows how to explain why we are making this shift to students and parents. Please realize that this is a researched based instructional practice and we are still learning what this means to us in middle school science classrooms. But the most important thing you need to know is:
We will now be measuring learning instead of completion of assignments.
4 Point Rubrics Simplified
Four point rubrics measure the learning on a four point scale. The four points measure the degree in which the learning objective was met. The image below generalizes the point categories.
Cari Williams is a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for the Tustin Unified School District in Southern California. She holds a MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Cal State Fullerton and works on the side as a consultant writing science and STEAM curriculum and training teachers. After working for 12 years in the classroom as a middle school science and STEAM teacher, she transitioned into the role of Digital Learning Coach in 2013. In this role, Cari helped teachers innovate curriculum and shift pedagogies through the integration of educational technologies. Her most current work as a TOSA is focused on engineering design in robotics, computer science, and Makerspaces. She is an official VEX Robotics event partner hosting tournaments for teams from around Southern California as well as leading 28 robotics programs servicing over 100 teams in the Tustin Unified School District. Although her expertise has taken her deep into STEAM education, she remains passionate and engaged in helping teachers transition to the NGSS through participating as a Science Peer Review Panelist for Achieve and as a Professional Learning Facilitator for NSTA.