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On Your Mark: Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting



Dr. Thomas Guskey’s latest book, “On Your Mark: Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting” was released August 1 by publisher Solution Tree, based in Bloomington, Ind.

According to the book’s description:


On Your Mark asserts the need to align grading and reporting practices to truly reflect what students are learning in K 12 classrooms. The changes this book outlines might be controversial. Adjusting any system that has been in place for centuries will cause tension yet we owe it to our students to make sure grades accurately communicate their progress and help them improve. Rather than continuing down the wrong path out of delusion, fear, or tradition, we must use research to boldly move forward and better serve our students.

The chapters first present changes that K 12 teachers and administrators can accomplish with a modest effort. They then lead up to the larger undertakings that demand a significant transformation of grading practices. Specifically, chapter 1 guides readers as they clarify the purpose of grades and craft a vision statement that aligns with this purpose. In chapters 2 and 3, readers will question the accuracy of percentage grades, plus and minus grades, and half-grade increments. Chapter 4 disputes grade distribution, such as curving grades, and highlights this practice s flaws. Chapter 5 examines class ranking and offers alternatives, and chapter 6 examines the practice of assigning a single letter grade to reflect a student s quarter or semester progress for a given subject. Readers will scrutinize mathematical algorithms and other practices that render grading inaccurate in chapters 7 and 8. Finally, Guskey closes the book with a summary of his key points.

K 12 teachers and administrators will:

-Question traditional grading and reporting and seek more accurate practices

-Identify the purpose of grading and make sure school and classroom visions, practices, and policies support it

-Implement research-based grading and reporting practices that promote accurate, useful accounts of student learning

-Understand why traditional practices, such as grading on the curve and offering plus or minus grades, don t fully report students academic performance to stakeholders

-Examine their own grading and reporting policies and make sure they support students, parents, and other stakeholders