Saturday, October 23, 2010

By Committee

Our district has assembled a committee on grading practices. It seems to be operating like most such groups in our school system-- they asked for volunteers from each school, appointed some administrators, invited some other stakeholders, sent out a book over the summer, and then started meeting this fall. The other day the committee members from our school reported to our staff. They gave an overview of the discussion so far and told us that in the next couple of months they will be making a recommendation to the school board. One of them told us that there probably won't be a single teacher in the county who won't have to change his or her grading practices in some way as a result of the work this committee is doing.

Not surprisingly, we had some questions-- about the process, but also about the resources they were using to guide their decisions. For example, most of us are pretty familiar with the concept of formative and summative assessment. Many of us use pre-assessments as well. But what the heck constitutes performance assessment? In response to that inquiry, the three of them agreed-- they didn't really know. "We are by no means the experts on this," they declared.

It's kind of an important issue... if the people who are making the recommendations aren't the experts, then who are?

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