Liberating Assessment from Grading: The Practice, Part II | Jared Colley | 7 Min Read

This article is a continuation of Jared’s discussion of theory and research in Part I, published yesterday. Today’s piece focuses on specific practical steps any school or teacher can take to implement a system that separates assessment from grading.

So how do we do it? How do we liberate assessment from traditional grading practices in order to develop capable learners who are empowered to pursue whatever career or goal that they desire?

Here are six tips to ponder:

  1. Establish clear criteria for successful academic achievement. Instead of relying on what Guskey and Feldman called normative-based grading, think carefully about how one might establish a criterion-based approach. Thomas Guskey offers three types of criterion-based approaches: Product, Process, or Progress (2015). With a product-focused approach, one is assessing competencies and learning outcomes and therefore focuses on what a student knows and can do. Process focuses less on final results and more on how one got there, which means that behaviors like timeliness, effort, or work habits could impact one’s grade as well as academic achievement. Progress looks at how much a student improved in a given amount of time. When considering Joe Feldman’s four non-negotiables for grading practices that it…
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Jared Colley

Jared Colley has been Upper School Head of Learning & Innovation at the The Mount Vernon School (GA) since July 2020. Previously, he was English Department Chair at The Oakridge School (TX) since August 2010. He has been an OESIS Network Leader since August 2017.