IMPLEMENT FAIR GRADING PRACTICES
Giving a zero in a 100-point grading scale is unfair and has an immense negative impact on a student's course average. Each grade band should have the same proportional impact - A, B, C, D, and F. With a 100-point grading scale, the lowest grade that should be a given is a 50 out of 100. Just two or three zeros are enough to cause failure for an entire semester, and even one course failure in 9th grade can lead a student to drop out of high school, incurring a lifetime of personal and social consequences. Another great option is to use the 0-4 grading scale that mirrors the GPA scale used in most high schools.
Rewarding effort to learn from mistakes cultivates a growth mindset and motivates students to keep learning, even after a failure.
The purpose of student work is to demonstrate understanding, not to assess whether a student can do the work on time. By accepting late work with no penalty, the grade represents the student's academic ability, not whether they can do the work by the deadline.
Grade progress toward mastery, not student behavior. Grading behavior over what a student has learned gives misinformation to students, families, and post-secondary institutions. Teaching students the connection between behaviors and learning is worthwhile, and if the behaviors being taught are correct, the academic performance of the student will improve.
By assigning a student an incomplete instead of an F, the student receives the message that there is still possibility to finish a course they haven't yet completed to expectation. By allowing students to have extra time with support to complete the course, consequences of an F are avoided for both the student and the school. It's necessary to develop a plan and timeline to support the student in completing the course. A first semester or first or second trimester incomplete can be brought up to a passing grade through work done before the end of the school year and beyond if the district decides. A second semester or third trimester Incomplete can be brought up to passing through work up to a district determined deadline the following school year.
Standards based grading creates a more equitable learning environment because students are given clear learning targets and rubrics that they can use to reach mastery of classroom content. Students are empowered not just to learn concepts, but to master them, perpetuating deeper learning of content.
Adopt a fair grading policy that includes a proportional grading scale, retakes, re-dos, late work with no penalty, standards-based grading and a broader use of the Incomplete.
DEVELOP LEARNING-CENTERED PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITIES
Embed literacy instruction across the content areas to help students develop higher level comprehension skills.
Develop curriculum units that are aligned to grade level priority standards, and centered on culturally responsive materials. Design content to be comprehensible for all learners (i.e. use varied sources of input- text, stories, video, poetry, music, etc.).
Administer common assessments to determine timely actionable next steps for students and teachers.
Review assessment data and student work to determine whether or not students have learned the intended skills and knowledge of the unit, share effective teaching practices and address areas for improvement.
Conduct learning walks, inter-visitations, and lab classes.
DEVELOP STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Integrate academic, social and emotional learning (develop interpersonal, intra-personal and cognitive competencies through intentional skill building) across all content areas and school contexts.
Design lessons that accommodate and foster the varied identities, needs, abilities, and interests of all learners (i.e. articulate clear learning goals, align a success criteria and learning progressions containing multiple learning pathways).
(e.g. provide clear, actionable, asset-based feedback; utilize student feedback loops and exit tickets).
Implement classrooms rituals and routines to support an inclusive learning community - e.g. incorporate communal talk/task structures (provide language scaffolds to ensure equity of voice) and cognitive routines (details goes here) into all learning opportunities.