Superintendent’s Advisory Council on Instruction (SACI)
Meeting held via ZOOM
Minutes

December 10, 2020

Approved

7:09pm- Welcome- Karen Martin, Chair SACI

For those who were looking for a poll, it was determined after going through the responses, most topics of interests fell into 3 areas- grading, technology, and communication. So those are the topics we will cover the next two meetings. Nov Minutes approved as amended.

Presentation on Grading- Mr. Ken Bassett, Director of Student Learning

This has been an ongoing topic of conversation

Regulation Revision

New

  • Separate academic performance from behavior in grades. Behavior is still communicated but not included in grades
  • Explicit reference to formative, summative, and reassessment
  • Articulated principals and beliefs
  • Explicit reference to formative, summative, and reassessment
  • Descriptive task titles- including SOL information included in grade book

Unchanged

  • Letter grade symbols
    • S+, S, S-
    • A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D, F
  • Grading Scales
    • Percentages
    • Grade points (4, 4.5, 5 points)

Additional changes

  • Expectation is for greater collaboration and consistency within and across schools.
  • Direction on missing and late work
  • Explicit language on grade replacement
    • Multiple opportunities provided with condition
  • Discourage percentages, encourage use of rubric scores.

Formative vs. Summative Grades

  • Difference between practice vs evaluative.
  • Best practice is to include only summative grades in student grade calculations however, most of our schools still provide some credit toward the practice or formative assessments in the overall quarter and course grades.
  • Formative is usually not weighted as heavily in the grading calculations.
  • At a minimum- we expect that grade level/course teams agree how to calculate formative and summative assessments grades to promote greater consistency between teachers of the same course. 
    •  If you are finding this is not the case, let your administration know.

Consistent Practices in Reassessments

  • Reassessment, not retakes.
  • Not automatic, nor guaranteed. Requires the demonstration of preparation to be given the possibility of another opportunity.
  • Practices for reassessment should be common among grade level/course teams.
  • Over time you will see greater consistency across schools. We are seeing greater dialog about assessment/grading practices.

Too Few Items to Base Grades On

  • Grades follow assessment
  • Sufficient evidence should be available before making evaluation
  • Minimum requirement of 6 grades per quarter for grades K-12. Typically it has been required to have 9 grades but because of the pandemic it has been reduced to 6. This is to allow for a reduced workload and greater opportunities for reassessment.

Different in the Pandemic

  • Master schedules have been built around family choice. Every course has 3 cohorts- Virtual Only Students, Hybrid Group A and Hybrid Group B. Teachers have to maintain student grades for these 3 groups in two systems. Canvas and the Gradebook that feeds into ParentVue do not talk to each other. We are working with both companies to allow these platforms to communicate.

Real World vs 2nd Chances

  • The argument against the reassessments is that it doesn’t prepare students for the real world.
  • Our focus is on learning
  • Practice should promote persistence
  • Examples of assessments that allow reassessment- Drivers tests, pilot tests, LSAT, Nursing boards, SAT, Teacher certification
  • If not in school, then when and where?

We want every student to succeed, not just kids who get it the first time.

Assessments

  • Grades follow assessment
  • Not all assessments are graded
  • All assessments require feedback to be effective. We don’t want students to turn in something for completion sake.

Feedback

  • Research on score values vs comments and reflective questions. Research shows that giving both a score and comments results in less growth than reflective comments alone. Research showed that students don’t look at comments once they see the score.
  • Importance of timeliness
  • Student self-regulation

What is the purpose of grading?

  • Support learning, select, sort, communicate, evaluate.
  • PWCS has identified the primary purpose is to communicate academic achievement level using symbols and comments.

Accuracy

  • To improve the accuracy of academic grades by not including behaviors such as attendance, effort, lateness, neatness, cheating.
  • These are work habits which are important and should be reported but should not be part of the reflection of whether you know something or not.
  • Should be based on uniform standards with clear articulation of success criteria
  • Multiple measure
  • Use of the appropriate scale (points vs percentages)
  • Don’t hide from kids what you expect students to do

Meaningful and Consistent

  • Understood by students
  • Evidence based
  • Built collaboratively with teacher teams (same grade/same course)

Support Learning

  • Importance of quality designs
  • Frequent formative assessments
  • Summative assessment measures are valid and reliable.

Food for thought

  • Percentage grades provide 101 distinct levels of performance with 2/3 denoting failure. What is the meaningful difference between an 88 on a paper and an 89? And one 0 is hard to overcome. Scales with fewer points provide for greater accuracy.

Timely Reporting

  • Regulations 561-2, 661-1, 661-2, and 661-3 require a minimum of weekly update to online gradebook.

Improvements to Date

  • Regulation revision
  • New grade book with additional capabilities
  • ParentVue

Q&A

(Questions are copied and pasted from the Zoom Chat- answers are the bullet points)

Why are we using platforms that don't talk to each other well? Why not go to something like Schoology where the gradebook is housed within the same system were items are assigned. This current system seems wildly inefficient on teachers' time!

  • Most colleges who use learning management systems (i.e. Canvas) do not have a student management system (i.e. ParentVue) to connect to. When not in a pandemic the implementation would normally have happened over 3 years. And we would have made sure they were integrated. But because we had to roll out the learning management system so quickly, we didn’t have the opportunity to do this. We are working with both companies to fix this.

Students have received a different grade on their official report card in the mail than what the teacher says is their actual grade in the grade book. if the teacher says that it will be updated on the next report card the following quarter is that accurate?

  • Talk to the teacher. Report card grades can be changed.

What kind of training are teachers receiving (or have received in the past) around providing constructive feedback to students?

  • We have offered professional development on this in the past. Right now we are using professional development bandwidth to help teachers transition into concurrent teaching. 

Is there an option for free form comments in the grade book vs. the "canned" handful of comments we are seeing now?

  • Not sure, will need to look into this.

A member of our school advisory asked “as it pertains to special education students…these multiple reassessments and deadline extensions while providing students the opportunity to obtain higher grades, affect their eligibility for continued special education support at IEP meetings for evaluation/re-evaluation, goal setting. Is there a way to take this into account.”

  • Absolutely. Should not be using only one measure to make decisions. The IEP team should be taking this into account. Should have conversation with case manager.

During breakout session we will be gathering feedback on the topics of communication and technology. We will be using the program Jam Boards. Please identify what is going well in relation to the topic and what are areas where we need improvement. We will be passing this feedback to presenters so they can address concerns in the presentations.

After returning from breakout session, information was captured on the question “What does a successful return to school building experience look like?” using the Minti program.

9:03pm Meeting Adjourned. Next meeting January 14, 2021