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Letter Grades vs BDS

 
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Donna Elliott



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 20
Location: Hammond

PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 8:07 pm    Post subject: Letter Grades vs BDS Reply with quote

I just finished administering the first unit assessment and am struggling with the scoring. I have been using the program for three years and have always reported scores using the BDS scale. This year, our school is piloting a new report card and will be using grades to report all progress. I figured my math scores using the 5 point scale and found that is wasn't anywhere near representative of the true picture of my students. I had students meeting all of the benchmarks and basically receiving failing grades. I agonized over how to get a true picture of the progress of the students, remain true to the framework of the ED Math program, and complete my City Assessments by the end of the month. I need any and all advice I can get as to how people have grappled and dealt with this dilemma. I have a plan, but I would like to hear suggestions before I post my idea.

Thanks for listening and in advance for any help that may be offered.
Donna
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Linda Afdahl



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 17
Location: Vigo

PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Donna--

This is my third year, too. These are my thoughts---they may or may not fit your situation---I hope you can find them somewhat useful... We have been on a grading system since the beginning.

I complete an "Individual Profile of Progress" for each student at the end of a unit, remembering that a developing skill means just that--that the student is not hitting the mark on that goal all the time or that they need a teacher start or refresher to demonstrate it. Secure is mastery without assistance in all arenas---slate, oral, game, performance, written assessment.....note however that mastery is not necessarily 100%.........i.e. 5/6 on the first project assessment = 83% and was considered mastery. I give the student a B, D, S given the collection of assessments I have acquired on any given goal. Some parts are observational and ancedotal. In the end, if the student falls in the gray area on the profile, they are doing what the child should be doing at that stage of their development---final slate, oral and written assessments for the unit play in as well and I assign a grade accordingly. A student could get an A in Math with good test grades and checks in the hopeful gray areas, which clearly means that at that point some of the skills are developing and should be. My parents get a copy of this "profile" with a letter grade assigned for the unit. At the end of the quarter, I average all my unit grades together. The parent realizes that the profile is the assessment tool and by report card necessity I have applied a grade. I have never had a parent question this strategy and I always feel the grade is a good representation of the child's ability. We have parent-teacher-student conferences with our first report card, so further clarification can be offered then--although parent nights earlier on is a great idea and you probably already do that.

I do not weight my assessments. I have some difficulty in weighting a developing skill with lesser value as ultimately the student must obtain a developed level of thinking and application with regard to that goal, else the child will not secure that goal in their next grade level---hence our spiraling effect fails. Some, maybe many, would frown at the lack of weighting the B,D,S----but I like to take both a qualitative and quantitative approach to the grading scenario---I believe that ultimately I come up with a truer grade.

Naturally, you have to do what makes the most sense for you. From my understanding, EM is not necessarily a proponent of weighting.

I hope some of this is helpful. Good luck----The B, D, S issue is not easily worked into a report card---grade given format. It is best for the checklist form of reporting.

Have a GREAT day teaching math! I hope you love it as much as I do!

Linda Afdahl
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Donna Elliott



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 20
Location: Hammond

PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 5:43 pm    Post subject: BDS vs Grades Reply with quote

I just want to thank Linda for her heartfelt and very true response to my query. I do love teaching ED math. I originally bought the program in 4th grade because the series I was teaching wasn't working with my students and I had heard all about this series from my peers.

I now have a computer program in place that assigns a percentage for each child based on where they fall within each skill in the unit. This takes into account slate, written, and ongoing assessment. It has given me a truer representation of my students and I feel more comfortable reporting progress now.

I still don't feel that you can condense all that a child is to one letter grade, but I now have to do it, so I will.

Have a wonderful week and Happy " Mathing."
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Kelly Dumas



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 11
Location: Vigo

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:37 am    Post subject: Grades Reply with quote

Linda, thanks sooo much for sharing your thoughts on grading. It seems to be such an issue and I appreciate the comments you made about not weighting grades. For students who are in the first year of the program, most of the skills ARE beginning. They do not have the vocabulary, background knowledge, or prior experience. I feel so much better seeing your comments because I could not bring myself to weight the the grades---it seemed an unfair way to assess our beginning learners. We want EDM to help our students not discourage them.
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Donna Elliott



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 20
Location: Hammond

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 8:33 am    Post subject: BDS vs grades Reply with quote

I appreciate all of the feedback on the subject of BDS and letter grades for this series. I agree that this is not a series that should have grades assigned, but the report card is dictating that I do. I think that I have found a way that truly represents and reflects the progress of the child and one that I can live with. I still report progress using the BDS scale and have explained the system, in detail, to both my students and parents, and at the end of each unit I convert those BDS's into a percent for each child. The percent is based on the learning goals for the unit and the child's individual profile. I have used the five point scale to get a total value for the unit and then figured the percent earned for each child.

A beginning skill is worth one point and a child who is beginning in this skill earns 20% of that one point while a child developing/secure in this same skill earns 80% of that same one point. A secure skill has a point value of five points and students earn their percents the same way. A child who is beginning in the skill earn 20% of the five points and a child who falls within the developing/secure range of that secure skill earn 80% of the five points.

This has given me a truer picture of my students, since I have to have a percent, then reducing each assignment to a point value. It also allows me the freedom and flexibility to take impromtu assessments on math boxes, or games without worrying that there are only 1-2 problems. I can easily walk around the room and take annecdotal notes on who is beginning in the concept of magnitude estimates and use game day to pull a small group to remediate with them.

I will be assessing unit two this week and it will be the ultimate test as to whether or not the process I spent so much time developing is reliable and valid. I will let you know. Wish me luck.

Happy mathing Smile
Donna
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Kathy Landis



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 16
Location: Anderson

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda,
I totally agree with what you said about not weighting developing skills with lesser value. I don't feel right about weighting them either. This is my second year in the Everyday Math program. I believe I have heard more discussion about grades and whether to weight skills or not than I have on any other topic. Everyone wants to be fair to the students and to give as true a picture as possible about their progress. I also liked your idea of giving parents a copy of their child's profile with a letter grade for each unit. This is a wonderful way of keeping parents continually informed and there should be no "surprises" when the grade is reported for the quarter. I really enjoyed reading each person's thoughts who responded to this topic. There are some wonderful ideas! It is obvious from the responses that everyone enjoys using the program.
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Patricia Wayman



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 16
Location: Hammond

PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 8:41 am    Post subject: Letter Grades vs B, D, S Reply with quote

The information in this section is very useful. I understand the B, D, S system of assessing progress, however I am having an extremely difficult time putting a letter grade to the EM assessment system for the report cards that require letter grades. The harder that I try to establish a standard the more confused I become. Since many students move during the school year to other Hammond schools, I think that it is important to have a city standard.
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Julie Rosner Sigmund



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 36
Location: Pike

PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 10:59 am    Post subject: weighting grades Reply with quote

I understand what is being said regarding the argument about whether to weight the level of the goal separately. However, I have a very specific question. If you are scoring all goals the same, what does your unit checking your progress look like when you send it home to parents? I believe that you are saying this "grade" is not the only thing used to assess your students. However, this "grade" will be seen by parents.
For example, when I was grading all goal levels the same on the unit checking your progress, my students were scoring very low grades. This led to many worried parents. I would like to hear how you handle this.
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Shannon Wilkerson



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 12
Location: Anderson

PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 1:08 pm    Post subject: Weighting/Grades Reply with quote

We have been having this same discussion in our district. I feel that you must make the program work for you. I have decided not to weight developing and secure goals differently. I feel that since this is the first year of the program for most of my students, that most goals will be developing anyway. I give bonus points for beginning goals, and I give developing/secure goals one point each.

This works for me, but again, everyone must make the program work for them!
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Karen Leff



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 33
Location: Fort Wayne

PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, too, have struggled with the assessment piece. I do mine very much like Shannon. Last year I found my Math grades to be lower than usual when I tried weighting the Unit tests, so this year I am giving one point for each secure and developing/secure goal and a bonus point if they get something more difficult such as extra names in a name collection box, etc. I also give an occasional grade on Home link homework, but not daily, maybe one a week. I take approximately one Math Box page grade a week. I only count the ones that are secure or developing/secure. This gives a little better indication and few more grades for me to base my grade upon as well as oral and slate assessments.
I also begin my 3 min. time test of 30 addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts at 9 different levels during the first week of school. I feel this encourages mastery at third grade and helps mastery on addition & sub. facts before ISTEP. I grade this with 5 points per test level passed during a 9 week period. Their times tests are worth a total of 20 points per grading period. I copy them back to back same thing on both sides, so if they do not pass, they take it home and practice each week. They love the challenge! If they exceed passing the 4 tests, which half of my students are already getting through the X2 and X3 tests, they get bonus points in this grading section. I have never had a class do so well before this year in 10 years of third grade. Wow! Thank you EM!
Karen Leff
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Monica Condon



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 12
Location: Pike

PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate all the posts about grading vs. BDS. I too struggle with assessment but have some different parameters. Our assessment is standards based so our progress report lists individual state standards and each student is assessed on each standard. (This is managed by computerized planning and assessment software so isn't as difficult as it sounds.) This seems like a perfect match to EM because the learning goals can be translated into the state standards. However, the terminology is a little different. The assessment terms we use are: Introduced, Emerging, Developing, Ongoing, Demonstrated, and Applied. Usually Demonstrated and Applied are consided the "target" for standards at the students grade level. So, initially I thought that Demonstrated or Applied would be "secure." So, where does that leave Ongoing? Generally I've thought of "ongoing" to mean they can sucessfully demonstrate the standard almost all of the time. What is a general standard for "secure"? Any thoughts you have on this matter would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Sheri Reed



Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 17
Location: Vigo

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 11:28 am    Post subject: Report Cards and Grades Reply with quote

Thanks so much for the helpful hints on reporting to parents. I have struggled with coming up with a method to evaluate and report formally on report cards. Some of my collegues who are not EM trained have questioned me this year about the difficulty they were having using our corporation report card and reporting student's abilities accurately. I am so glad to have some advice to give them. I will move to third grade next year and take this information along with me. Also, I wanted to add that our school improvement plan requires us to administer an end of the year test from our old math series. I gave my kids this test last week and they BLEW THE TOP OFF OF IT!!! I have alot of confidence in this program leading into ISTEP testing next year!
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