Ok, I need some feedback to see if I’m missing something obvious. Below is a quick summary of my assessment plans for university education courses next semester. While I would love to not give grades, that is not yet an option. So below are my thoughts on how to maintain high expectations, increase transparency, & help students effectively/accurately self assess.
1) I will identify X (we’ll say 10) outcomes for the course. One might be: students will create a coherent set of goals for students & explicitly use these goals to guide all aspects of instruction.
2) I will articulate 3 levels of understanding for each outcome. Using the goals example: 3 – goals viewed as supporting one another & most always referenced in planning, enacting, & assessing instruction. 2 – goals clearly articulated but are not consistently used when considering instruction. 1 – goals clearly articulated, but only referenced occasionally or when prompted.
***Here you should jump down to “EDIT #3” at the bottom of the post to see my most current views on how I think I will calculate final grades.
4) in order to get an A (I must give grades) in the course, the student must be in the 3 range for all outcomes & be able to demonstrate/clearly articulate how the various outcomes relate. For example, they must note how learning theory impacts the promotion of the goals they identified. An A student must be able to articulate a cohesive picture of effective teaching in which the various aspects overlap & influence one another.
5) Here’s where I’m struggling. To get a B students can only have two 2’s at
most, with the rest of the outcomes being 3’s, but a B student need not articulate all interconnections among outcomes. I have considered requiring all 3’s for a B so only the interconnections is what separates A from B. I’d like thoughts/suggestions here!
6) More than two 2’s = C. Getting a 1 or 0 on any standard is an automatic C.
7) two or more 1’s is an automatic D & more than four ones is an F.
8) there will be some minimum requirements beyond these levels, but wont be used to factor a grade. If the minimum requirements are not met, the grade will be an automatic F.
9) students will be creating some of their own assignments to learn & demo learning for the outcomes. My plan is to meet with each student approximately every 3 weeks (5 times per semester) to discuss progress & current grade. This meeting will ask students to self assess & I will guide their thinking to help them stay consistent with course expectations.
Now, I need your thoughts! What am
I missing? What will students not understand or feel is unfair?
Classes start next week, so the sooner the better! Thanks!
EDIT #1 ——-
As a second option, I could make “articulation of the interconnections of the outcomes” a separate outcome. Each outcome is worth three points, I add up the points the student and I decide they are at and divide by the total. While this option is simple, I worry it places more emphasis on point accumulation rather than meeting learning targets. I don’t know.
EDIT #2 ——
As a third option, I will make each standard/outcome worth four points. Three of the points are tied to “levels” of understanding as articulated above. Then the fourth point is for being able to articulate how the standard is tied to/related to the other standards. The reason to make this last point separate is that a student might only understand the standard concerning learning theories at a the “2” level, but be able to articulate how the learning theories connect to other standards. Thus, the student could get a 3 on the “learning theory standard”. Then I would simply add up the points a student got (they will self assess) and divide by total possible to get final grade based on 90, 80, 70 percent scale.
Why not say all standards must be met at highest level (3) for an A. Meaning if even one standard is subpar, the student is in the B range. But most standards must be in 3 range for B. Then if most(more than half) standards are in the 2 (developing) range, the student is at a C. If any single standard is at a 1 (not met or significant gaps/misunderstanding) the student is automatically at a C. If majority of standards at 1 level, grade is in D range.
I like this because implies the cohesive nature of effective teaching (ie: good questions don’t matter if you don’t have good classroom management/rapport). Also, if students are really struggling in an area, they must work on it & not let the “average” pull them up. Additionally, it shows how serious teaching ought to be taken by setting high expectations. Yet, because I will meet with students individually throughout, they will consistently know what they need to be working on so it’s not high expectations through a “gotcha” method.
Also, students will self assess their levels for each standard so self assessment is still promoted. However, I am trying to provide a framework for final overall grade rather than just average.
PS-the fact that there are so many options shows how arbitrary & pointless “grading” is.