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Q: If we’re reporting student performance on the report card using a 4 point scale, why aren’t we grading all our papers with the same scale?

A: Rubric scoring is a great tool, and it’s a strategy that we would like for teachers to try and use. The problem is not with using a 4-point rubric, it’s how those scores are interpreted by the gradebook. The Pinnacle gradebook is powerful and flexible, but it does expect us to make decisions about how we do things. Right now, we’ve programmed the gradebook to calculate based on total points. This allows teachers to have assignments of different point values, to record the DCAs based on points possible, and to operate the gradebook as it has in past years (except for weighted categories). With this system, the gradebook thinks of a “2” on a 4 point scale as 50%, which is outside the range for “Progressing” in our new scale. For this reason, teachers need to use the rubric to points conversion table instead of recording a 4-3-2-1 score. It’s possible that someday we’ll convert to an “all rubric” system in the gradebook, but that would require teachers to significantly re-think all the grading they do in their classrooms, since EVERY SCORE would have to go in as a rubric score. We thought we had enough change for one year.

Q: I’ve heard that some schools aren’t recording anything but DCAs in their gradebooks. Is that true?

A: There aren’t any teachers or schools that are putting only DCAs in their gradebooks, although there are a number of sites and specific teachers where most all homework and formative assessments are going in with a weight of zero in the gradebook. In these schools and classrooms, teachers are determining students’ performance scores based on their summative achievement, which includes the DCA, but usually includes additional summative evidence as well, such as projects, papers and other culminating assignments.

Q: Is there help available in answering parent questions about the gradebook and report card?

A: The two resources most available are the district’s standards-based grading website, and the Frequently Asked Questions document. Everyone was given a copy of the FAQ at the August 12 PD day, and it, along with many other resources are available at http://fortosage.sharpschool.net/district/standards-_based_grading/. The website includes tutorials about the report cards and links to the standards that are assessed at each grade level.