Grading and Assessment

Figuring your grades

One of the skills that is usually NOT taught in teacher education programs is "how to grade." Unfortunately, new teachers are expected to pick this up on their own. However, it is also an area where new teachers are closely scrutinized by administrators and parents. The following are some basic tips that can be used by new teachers to guide them as they begin to develop their own grading systems.

Roll books
Invest in two grade books, if your system does not provide two. You need one roll book for attendance records and the other roll book for recording grades. This is worth the money and time.

Get a calculator or a computer program
I know that this sounds VERY basic, but a calculator helps make your grading MUCH more "objective," more "dependable" and EASIER to figure.

Use a system of 100% (a percentage system)
Always convert all grades and numbers to a system of 100. It will not only be easier for you to figure out overall.

Convert letter grades to numbers
It is always easier to average numbers. It is always more understandable for other adults to see a percentage/number total.

Percentage System
All letter grades are converted to a numerical equivalent, based on a 100 point system.

A++ = 100 (perfect paper w/ extra-credit)
A+ = 98
A = 95
A-= 92 
B+=88
B = 85
B-=82
C+=78
C=75
C-=72
D+=1.3
D=1.0
D-=0.7
F=0.0

Grade Point System 
All letter grades are converted to a grade equivalent, based on the 4.0 system.

A+=4.3 
A=4.0 
A-=3.7 
B+=3.3
B=3.0
B-2.7 
C+=2.3
C=2.0 
C-=1.7 
D+=1.3
D=1.0 
D-=0.7
F=0.0

After the point values are averaged, they are converted back into a letter grade. Here is a chart you can use ("borderline" grades are of course up to the discretion of the teacher):

4.0-4.3=A+ 
3.7-4.0=A 
3.5-3.7=A- 
3.3-3.5=B+ 
2.7-3.3=B
2.5-2.7=B- 
2.3-2.5=C+ 
1.7-2.3=C 
1.5-1.7=C- 
1.3-1.5=D+
0.7-1.3=D
0.5-0.7=D- 
0.0-0.5=F

Establish your Final Grading Formula Numerically 
Determine ahead of time the weight given to each of the sections of your grade book. Explain to the students your grading system - let them know your expectations!

TESTS 50%, QUIZZES 25% PROJECTS 25% 
Total divided by 3 
Or 
TESTS 45%, HOMEWORK 10%, QUIZZES 25%, PROJECTS 20%
Total divided by 4

Report Card Comments

Always be objective when dealing with negative areas
Probably the one area that gets teachers into more trouble is subjective negative comments. You need to figure that any time you give an opinion, a protective parent could have an opposite one. One way to get around this problem is to use a calculator and hard numbers. Here are some examples of subjective and objective statements:

SUBJECTIVE: "He rarely does his homework" 
OBJECTIVE: "He has missed 12/15 (80%) of the homework assignments this quarter."

SUBJECTIVE: "She has failed most of her tests." 
OBJECTIVE: "Her percentage on our tests is 46%, which is equal to an F."

SUBJECTIVE: "He is constantly talking out of turn." 
OBJECTIVE: "He talks out of turn between 5-8 times every day."

Always give at least one positive statement at the beginning

Say SOMETHING nice about the student.

"He's a great student, however..." 
"I really enjoy having her in my class. However, she needs to work on her..."
"He's always enthusiastic. However..." 
"She always tries to do well. However..."