Grading & Reporting Schemes

Over the years, I’ve heard from many teachers in different situations looking to move towards Proficiency-Based Grading (PBG), or possibly beyond. Elsewhere on this blog, I’ve written very long explanations about grading practices. Here are various grading scheme options presented in a straight-forward manner. If you’re in a situation that seems very different from those listed below, comment and we’ll think of something!

Latest Expectations-Based Grading Scheme

Expectations-Based Grading (EBG) **NEW, added 3.4.18**
100% – Input Expectations Rubric, includes Proficiency Levels
0% – Quick Quizzes, or anything else you want to report a score for
Use this scheme if you have complete control, want maximum freedom, and want to focus on students receiving input.

Zero-Autonomy Quick Fix **NEW, added 8.2.18**
Percentages vary based on wacky school requirements, and don’t matter read about it, here
In each grading category:
1) Create assignments that do NOT count towards the final grade (usually a check box)
2) Create ONLY ONE assignment that DOES count towards the final grade
3) Use a—ANY—holistic rubric to arrive at that grading category grade
Use this scheme if you have absolutely no control, and people are telling you what kinds f things to assign, and how much value to give them.

Various Proficiency-Based Grading Schemes
Though, you could also substitute Input Expectations Rubric above for any Proficiency rubrics below…

Fully-PBG
100% – Proficiency (using this one rubric, these simple rubrics, or these detailed rubrics)
0% – DEA, Quick Quizzes, or anything else your little heart desires
Use this scheme if you have complete control, want maximum freedom, and can still manage class without DEA being included in the grade.

Variable-PBG **Added 6.19.2016**
0% to 100% – Proficiency (increasing weight throughout the year)
100% to 0%DEA (decreasing weight throughout the year)
0% – Quick Quizzes, etc.
Use this scheme to emphasize the importance of DEA, and really establish those routines that lead to acquisition in the classroom. Read about that here.

Mostly-PBG (if you use this, be sure to set the maximum Proficiency grade at 90, not 100)
90% – Proficiency (using these rubrics with DEA, with an option to copy the fewer indicators from these simple rubrics)
10% – DEA
0% – Quick Quizzes, etc.
Use this scheme if you have snarky DAPS (Department, Admin, Parents, Students) who are troubled by not having numbers between the tens (i.e. “Mr. P, an 85 won’t do, little Jenny needs to stand out amongst her peers with an 87, and little Johnny surely is a 96, not 95, right?”).

Tempered-PBG
50% – Proficiency (using these rubrics with DEA, with an option to copy the fewer indicators from these simple rubrics)
50% – DEA
0% – Quick Quizzes, etc.
Use this scheme if you have students (damaged by their educational system) who only agree to do something “if it counts.” You could also end up with something between Mostly- and Tempered-PBG by adjusting the percentages.

Mixed-PBG (read this post for one of those detailed explanations)
35% – Listening & Reading Proficiency (using these rubrics with DEA, but modify with only Listen/Reading indicators)
15% – Writing & Speaking Proficiency (using these rubrics with DEA, but modify with only Writing/Speaking indicators)
25% – DEA
15% – Knowledge (Linguistics/Vocabulary/Cultural Facts)
10% – Knowledge (Linguistics/Vocabulary/Cultural Facts) Tests
0% – Quick Quizzes, etc.
Use this scheme if you have to work within an established department grading scheme, but have some control over renaming the categories. If you have very, very little freedom, allot as much as possible to Proficiency getting as creative as you can within the grading categories you must use (e.g. like splitting Proficiency into several categories based on skill). This is probably the toughest spot to be in, but comment with your parameters and we’ll get creative, but not too creative.

Skill-Based-Mixed **Added 9.19.2016**
(read this post for one of those detailed explanations)
25% – Reading (these simple rubrics with only the understand indicator by removing “hear”)
25% – Listening (these simple rubrics with only the understand indicator by removing “read”)
25% – Writing (these simple rubrics with only the understood indicator)
20% – Speaking (these simple rubrics with only the understood indicator)
5% – Knowledge Test (Linguistics/Vocabulary/Cultural Facts), like Midterm, etc.
0% – Quick Quizzes, etc.
Use this scheme if your department is skill-based, you can’t include DEA.

Other Curiosities

3 Category Minimum **Added 6.10.18**
This is also an absurd mandate. Use the concept of working with summative/formative policies below (which is using the exact same rubrics, labeling one “Formative” and the other “Summative,” doing former 1/2 through the grading period, and the latter at the end). For the 3rd category, add Input Expectations (seen above, at top), or DEA. The percentages will vary according to what other teachers are doing. For example, if Homework is 20%, Classwork 40%, and Quizzes/Tests 40%, then use the same percentages…

40% – Summative Proficiency
40% – Formative Proficiency
20% – Input Expecations (or DEA, or whatever)


Summative/Formative Policies
Read this post on a way to navigate this absurd mandate that has nothing to do with language acquisition. A simple semantic distinction could help you out.

Homework/Participation/Projects/Quizzes/Tests
A way to conceptualize workarounds for these common, but silly schemes.

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11 thoughts on “Grading & Reporting Schemes

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  9. Our district (says that it) is moving towards Standards Based Grading. For the last two years, our district was we were 60% summative and 40% formative. We had to have four summative and four summative grades per nine weeks. We started last week, and they’ve announced that we are now 90% summative and 10% formative. We’re required to have SIX (!!) summative and four formative a nine weeks. (It’s like they don’t know the definition of summative nor how long it takes before a summative assessment should be given). They have NOT said that this 90% should be based on standards — only that it must be summative. I’m about to read your Spin Doctor post to see how it may help us but our immediate needs are how to make DEA worth it or our kids if it stays formative. Additionally, how can we do that many summative grades without taking one assessment and dividing it into individual grades in the grade book (which we realize will probably have to happen). Merci!

    • First of all, I’d get in touch with your union reps to see what you can do, or at least track down whose stupid idea that is. Also, see if you can get a hold of a bing name grading expert…NOT ONE of them would recommend 90/10 Summ/Form.

      As for the particulars, it’s not
      quite clear. If you’re supppsed to have 4 formative and 6 summative every 9 weeks (quarters, yes?), are those 2 expected to be the only grading categories, or could you have like 10 different grading categories, 4 of them formative, 6 summative? If the latter, just name each one something slightly different and use the same kind of rubrics (with slightly different criteria).

      Honestly, whoever thought of that is an idiot, and/or really misunderstood something a superior said they should be doing, in which case they might not be an idiot, rather just trying to put out fires as best why can. In that case, the superior is an idiot. Welcome to education.

      • If nothing else, thank you for agreeing that it’s just as ridiculous as I thought. As for your Q: we can ONLY have the two grading categories, and we do not have the power to change those categories. (There’s the rub.) I’ve asked for clarification Qs to my admin, and I’m hoping to get a clearer response today. (And to clarify, we have four quarters a year, but my district calls it a “nine weeks,” as in first nine weeks, second nine weeks, etc.) I think we’ll be able to use the idea of using the last formative as a summative grade on DEAs, but giving 6 summatives a quarter seems so incredibly daunting to me (and unfair to my students).

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