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Improving the Way We Grade Science


Standards-based grading systems can improve how we communicate learning expectations to students.

"In addition to any discoveries that teachers might make about student learning while that learning is in progress, they must still assign grades. Consequently, educators need to develop and implement a system that supports both the formative and summative functions of assessment--formative, in that teachers can use evidence of student achievement to adjust instruction to better meet student learning needs; and summative, in that teachers can amass the information to provide a final grade for a marking period. The first requirement of an assessment system that supports learning is a standards-based record-keeping system. The second is a dynamic grading process in which teachers alter students' grades in light of new evidence of learning. A pilot study conducted in an 8th grade physical science class suggests that implementing such a grading system can improve both student motivation and achievement."