(some) Madison School board COmmentary on Planned West High School Grading Changes

So in a district where this was previously implemented, um, failure went down, but so did rates of students earning A’s and B’s and our level classes, um, and teachers found that it had eroded some students’ motivations. So I was wondering if that’s a concern at all in how the district might address that.

Okay, great question. I know that, um, several schools have, um, have used this in him through the year, but as well as. Just went back and looked at their grades to see how it might’ve affected most recently. Um, and teacher at West high school is providing some professional development and used his class.

He didn’t use the strategy and here actually wasn’t necessarily a fan of it. But over the summer reading and understanding, he went back and looked at last year’s grades. Right among the, the trend that we’ve seen, whether we’re talking East algebra or we’re talking West chemistry, because it did not actually inflate the number is, and B’s it did.

However, bring up, um, a few of the F’s and the reason being on this is that it brought some, it took some of the zeros and brought them up to fifties and it raised it a little bit. But here’s the interesting part of it was that. And again, this is something that we saw when we talked to summer school students, and this is something we talked when we talked to students that were in the transition academies or micro schools as well, is that when the teacher, as there were students that had one, two or three F’s and they felt that they were not going to be able to get those up, they just stopped coming.

And those, those were some of the apps that they continue to stay in those classes. Um, and so we’ve been looking at this and we have other teachers now are looking at their grade books just to see if that trend is consistent as well. I’ll also just add in there a little Julia, um, many districts across the nation have shifted their entire grading scale as they’ve moved to an equal interval grading scale.

And I would say we grappled with about three or four different grading scales, and we decided as a collective to keep the grading scale for an a through D consistent now and only. Change the 59 points for an app. So that students that were earning A’s before should still be earning A’s students that were earning bees should still be earning BS.

We didn’t feel that we were ready for kind of, um, fully going like this and blowing up the full grading scale of making those shifts. Because we also simultaneously have to work on that instructional delivery and assessing standards through the way we deliver instruction. So I think that some of the references you’re making are in terms of where they’ve done some other significant shifts and it’s just one phase and kind of where we may go with that.

Thank you. Um, I had another question. So, um, all Madison teachers that I’ve had in the past have chosen to give opportunity to make up late work or late assignments or even redo tests for partial or full credit though, could either, could encourage and keep your, to allow makeups for credit or like some districts have mandated, um, that you have a minimum 50%, if a reasonable attempt is made on the assignment, would that achieve the same goals?

It’s just removing the zero or is there a reason. Specifically, like why you went to get rid of the F basically. Yeah, so I’ll start. And then Mike, feel free to chime in. So one, we don’t have a consistent in practice right now in terms of teachers allowing to have students make up a redo. That’s one of the shifts that we’ve been working on for the last few years.

And it’s great to hear that all of your teachers have done that. I would say across a student’s day, they have had very inconsistent practices in terms of what’s allowed and what’s not. So that’s one of the things we want to standardize and to, I want to go back and just re. Besides this idea of a zero and this idea of 59 points for an AF yet nowhere near that same number of points for students to demonstrate passing.

And so for us the shift and taking away a zero. Which tanks students. Sometimes you can not come out of a zero even mathematically in any way you try. You can not come up from a zero. We want students to be able to see us as a learning organization, and we want our students to be in this continuous improvement cycle as well.

And so one way to do that is just to create equal number of points that still allows students to fail forward. Right. And to come out of that and to master the content and the skills. So that is where we’re at. I don’t think just this idea of redoing without removing a zero and that kind of disproportionate number of opportunities and an app would achieve the same goal just to go along with that is there’s sometimes there’s confusion when we use grades as punitive measures as well.

Um, an example, being somebody who cheated. Um, you know, they deserve a zero or do they deserve an F because sometimes if somebody cheats, there’s a root cause to that. And so we need to look at this and if we’re looking at a deficit mindset, Hey, I’m coming down as hard as I can you get a zero or an S I say deficit mindset.

I’m here as a student might have. Had something that they needed to do and they didn’t have to a chance to study or complete the homework. And so knowing that they’re going to either get a zero or take the chance they decided to take the chance. I think the root cause from this is we need to figure out how we can, we need to figure out what, hello.

Hello? Yeah. Okay. I hear an answer. I know that’s coming from your on Gloria has got a mute, so we need to figure out the root cause of, of the why. Um, I think there’s a hangup on and being able to fail somebody. Um, you’re still, there’ll still be people still be able to fail a student, but it’ll be with the 50% F as opposed to a zero F.

I mean, do you think that students would be less likely to make up their work or try to relearn content if it was already at 50%? I think that particular students. So if we’re being extremely, um, intentional on this, I think that students are gonna realize that as we work on your maturity as well, that they can, they still have a chance to get engaged and pass the class, as opposed to, you know, the first two or three weeks.

Let me see a few, a few zeros. I mean, we’re looking at it and then two different senses, right? I’m looking at, there are students that are intrinsically motivated. Um, earlier when I talked about the privileges, they have privileges of pants and or people supporting them. And we have some that don’t, and that’s unfortunate in reality.

And so we’re taking one of those variables out and then we’re not going to penalize somebody for not having that privilege.

cut out for a minute there, but I think I got the gist of what you’re saying. Um, I have other questions, sorry to take up more time, but, um, so some kind of going along with that idea of privilege, there’s kind of dangerous and subjective grading as well. Um, and some research has found that educators in schools with a note zero policy.

Um, give higher grades to students who are shown, who they believe are putting in more effort. Um, and I’m kind of concerned that would make grading more subjective or discouraging to students who aren’t doing as well. So could you speak to that at all?

well, I can start. And then Mike, you want to chime in. So I think this is why we want to move to standard space instruction and grading overall when teachers have rubrics and the rubrics are very clear in terms of what students need to know, be able to do and demonstrate in order to master the standards, there is no subjectivity in it, right?

We’re taking some of that subjectivity out. I would say that this kind of phase along the way. It’s still imperfect because we are still using percents and letter grades. And we haven’t moved to the full standard spaced approach. Many of our teachers use rubrics. Many of our teachers use points and those points are able to calculate on the backend to that percent.

And so we’re getting closer to that. And that has been six years of work. As Lisa said, we just recently sent people to the standards Institute. And DPI just made some shifts to their standards again. So when we can fully get to that place where we show students in advance, this is what it means to meet the standards.

Here is the rubric. There is no guessing game. I think we will be even closer to what you’re getting at Julia. And I think this is one step to that. Yeah. And I agree with the subjectivity when we hit the standards, as well, as I mentioned earlier, you have multiple entry points to show proficiency in. And so that takes some of that subjectivity out, but we also know with grading, um, participation is code for behavior.

Um, uh, if that is their active language that they’re participating in, or if they’re not necessarily, um, engaged in class, that can be a difference between getting full points of participation and getting zero points for participation. And that’s a way to, to create subjectivity as well. But if we’re talking about, um, being able to show.

Uh, I demonstrate some proficiency in multiple different ways. I can take out that subjectivity as well. Dr. Jagan. Yes, no. I was just going to say to chair Reyes and to the rest of the board members, I appreciate all the questions we’re going to be bringing this back. This isn’t the end of this. And at this particular point, we have several of the items on the agenda.

Definitely think that we could move this. And if there are any other questions, you can submit those in and, uh, we’ll definitely will respond to those. But tonight was intended to give you an overview because we’re moving. This great piece for it. So if we could, at this point, we could just end this particular presentation and thank you to those who are presenting, uh, unless the board wishes differently.

Thanks for your answers. Thank you, dr. Jenkins. I agree. I think, um, you know, we’ve been to two hours into the, uh, superintendents report. Um, I will take in one more person. I don’t, I don’t see, I didn’t see any other hands up. Um, Chris Gomez Schmidt. Um, if you could ask you questions all at once. I think Ollie had her hand up, so I don’t want to interrupt there.

I know she was. Hoping to ask my question. My question is just around the metrics that we’re using to make, to determine if, what the changes that we’re making are effective. So if you could share with us, yeah. However, you’re going to share that, um, the metrics that we’re using to, um, tell that this, these changes are helping students stay more engaged in school and that they’re increasing their mastery and learning along the way and not just increasing their GPA.

I think that would be helpful for us to understand. Well, I can start. I think we’re going to use the same metrics that we have in place in our strategic framework and the same metrics we’ve used in the past. I think in addition to that in the research has told us kind of what we should be paying attention to and why we’re making these changes.

So that’s where we are initially in terms of metrics for that. I think the other thing we will do obviously, is qualitatively along the way in our reflect and adjust process. So let me know if you want to add anything to that. Great. Thank you. I also want to say part, one of the metrics we look at is attendance and looking at some of the trend data of students from last year to this year and engagement, and there were disengagement of attending classes.

Thank you. Alright,

great presentation. Thank you. Thank you. All. This was very informative. Um, as dr. Jenkins said that, um, we, um, we’ll come back to this topic again, uh, to have another conversation, um, and update on how we’re doing. Uh, so next item on the agenda is did somebody have something before I move on? Okay. Um, is report on items that proceeded through the instruction work group.

** Machine generated transcript – there may be errors.

Notes and links on the planned Madison West High School Grading changes.