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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Rethinking averaging of grades

Rethinking averaging of grades

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I work in a school which believes wholeheartedly in assessment for learning, rather than assessment of learning. The big difference is that assessments are used to inform our instruction and guide student learning, rather than take an anatomy of what the child has learned. One consequence is that we no longer average grades together. Our final grade for a student reflects, as best we can, what we think the child would be capable of doing on a good day. We also split the summary of a child's learning habits (which we call approaches to learning) from their learning outcomes (which we call their summative assessments). If our "approaches to learning" grade reflects the coach-ability of a child, the summative grade reflects their performance "at the big game." If you still average grades together to determine a final grade for students, ask yourself these questions: 1. What is the purpose of averaging grades? 2. What else is included in those grades? 3. How reliable are the measures you are using to create those grades? 4. What is the final grade supposed to represent?

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