I just spent 12 hours in Grading for Equity Virtual Institute, and my main takeaway comes down to what I’m calling JDGI. After all, no one wants to be judgy, right? Therefore, JDGI is a handy acronym for how to grade equitably. I’m not going to spoil the book, institute, or any of the work that Joe Feldman and Dr. Shantha Smith have been doing, but the basic idea is:
Just Don’t Grade It
Do you give homework? Fine, just don’t grade it. Do you expect students to participate? What if your idea of participation is biased? But OK fine, just don’t grade it. Are you under the impression that effort is observable and measurable? Might wanna check yourself on that one, but alright, just don’t grade it. Do you give tests that result in scores of X/Y points (e.g. 7/10, or 89/100)? Yeah, just don’t grade it (i.e., ditch those points in place of something like concept checklists the student showed they understood).
So yeah, you gotta grade something else…
Recently, I heard from a teacher who had a negative experience with reassessments (noticing no significant gains in student performance after implementing the system). Sadly, I question not only the procedure used, but also the focus of the class. My story with reassessing is very different, and quite positive.
You may have read that my new “one grading system to rule them all” essentially has a single standard, Proficiency. This is because I am no longer convinced that students need to practice anything in order to acquire a language. If you believe students need to practice, SBG will work for you, but I don’t buy it, and neither does VanPatten. This concept is so utterly counterintuitive to traditional language teachers, you probably need to spend some time thinking things over before developing your teaching philosophy.
**Updated Expectations Rubric**
This grading system is the result of my experience combining common weighted grading categories (e.g. Homework, Unit Tests, Quizzes, etc.) with Standards Based Grading (SBG), and a Classroom Management (adaptation of Robert Patrick’s D.E.A.). Despite overall positive outcomes, the combination had its drawbacks. Besides, the longer I teach, 1) the less explicit instruction I give, and 2) the more streamlined/simple my practices become. From what I’ve learned from veteran teachers, this is a normal progression for a teacher, but I seem to have skipped about 10 years of trial and error. This new grading system is extremely easy to use as a teacher and extremely clear to understand as a student.