Historic Board Meeting: It’s About Time!

On August 26, 2008, our Board of Directors (the school board for the Hillsboro School District 1J) reviewed policy JEDA, which allows teachers to require make-up work from students who have an unexcused absence and missed an assignment. According to this policy, teachers don’t have to “grant credit” for the assignment, i.e., not assess, nor give feedback, and possibly dump a zero into the grading mix.

I’m proud to say that the board unanimously requested that admin revise the policy to separate academic proficiency from attendance. And I’m also proud to say that the admin welcomed this action, because they also are on board with standards-based grading.

The policy will be revised in the near future, and no more students in Hillsboro will be required to make-up school work without assessment and appropriate scoring (“credit”).

So, you ask, why am I excited?

It’s the first time that we, the Board, have had the opportunity to address standards-based grading in a public meeting, which is where it all happens in terms of real change.  🙂

This is the first of many grading policies that will be revised to get HSD 1J on board with 21st century grading practices. District administration has had on ongoing conversation with building admin for the last couple of years, new teachers getting instruction on SBG, and veteran staff is in the process of becoming acquainted with SBG concepts. In fact, a high number of verteran staff are already with the program.

I’m a happy camper.

Note to veteran staff…I’m also “veteran staff (retired).” 😉

More to come…

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5 thoughts on “Historic Board Meeting: It’s About Time!

  1. I would be happy to dispense with grades altogether. I was reminded of how much I despise ’em when I had to tell one of my students that she currently has an F in Social Studies. The devastated look on her face made me want to destroy my online gradebook! We aren’t doing standards-based grading in our district yet. Maybe the day will come…

    “I would be happy to dispense with grades altogether.”

    The big guns of standards-based grading agree with you — grading is not essential to learning. I imagine we’ll get to that point in public education when the entire human population achieves Nirvana. Right now, I’ll settle for teacher behavior that produces undistorted assessment evaluation.

    You’ve got a lot of heart, CTG. I think you must be a very engaging teacher.

    BTW, you don’t have to wait for the district to get on board. You can practice SBG on your own, as long as you don’t violate policy, and the building and district admin are sympathetic. If you’re gonna be in Piney for a while, you might just make an impression. It only took me eight years to do that here. 😉 –Hugh

  2. I know that you are happy about this. My principal has adopted this type of thinking too. Unfortunately, I am not there yet! I agree that zeros reek havoc on student’s grades. But, what am I to do if they don’t complete the work. That is the major problem I am experiencing. How can I assess them if they don’t do the work? Yes, zero are extremely punitive, but I find that with those students who do care, that it is ENOUGH to make them do the work. SBG doesn’t work when you don’t have an administration that supports mandatory attendance in tutoring/saturday school so that students can complete the work, What AM I TO DO? Again, I am beginning to see the light on this whole SBG, but how do we make them learn when they don’t want to? It’s so frustrating as a teacher.

    “How can I assess them if they don’t do the work?”

    Perhaps you can grade only on summative assessments and admonish the students about practice, i.e., homework. Unless you’re giving take-home tests, I wouldn’t expect homework evaluations to find their way into a final grade anyway.

    If students don’t want to practice, they’ve made the decision to head into the summative assessments without all the advantages they could have accrued. If they crash and burn, it’s on them. But it is on you if you pile on the zeros before the summative assessments.

    Persuade, cajole, beg. Ask for respect. Do what you can to get the homework done, but don’t pour gasoline on the fire in the form of punitive grading. They might dig themselves a hole, but you don’t want to be putting the dirt over them.

    Hope that helps. 🙂 –Hugh

  3. If I may respond to the above comment.
    If you don’t get the homework, punish the child. Give them a detention or whatever sanctions your school uses. But, the actual homework being done or not tells you very little about whether the learning objectives have been met.

    My system, for those who care (and those who have not already read me say this) is as follows..

    Homework gets no grades at all.. just comments. In my experience a grade alone is next to useless as a guide to what the child needs to learn.
    I only ever write comments (such as “this graph needs a title” or “expand on this explanation, maybe use the word particles..”)

    However, homework not being done is treated rather harshly. I allow a total of two days late for the term. So, you can have one piece late for two days, or two pieces late for one day each. After that, you have used up your lives and you end up spending half your lunch break with me.

    Hi, Donalbain!

    I wish all our teachers shared your outlook on homework. Your practice is what I’d like to see us aim at all over our district (20,000+ students). –Hugh

  4. Want me to come to your district and beat people up until they agree with me?
    I could call it consultancy!

    LOL! Have you been reading Frank Chalk again? 😀 –Hugh

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