Assessment/Grading PD Session

The above prezi was created to lead our staff through a discussion-based PD session about assessment and, more specifically, grading.  In order to put staff members into groups of 4, we had them line up by birthdate…without speaking.  The staff had fun getting aligned (even though some were out of order).  The first 4 people were a group, then the next 4, and so on.

After a brief discussion about the session and how it fits into the district goals, the objectives for the session were presented:

  • to examine current assessment practices
  • to engage in a collaborative discussion
  • to take the first step in developing a school wide assessment policy

The first task was for groups to discuss the question, “What is the purpose of a grade?”  Many of the groups recognized that a grade is a means of reporting where a student is at in terms of a set of learning outcomes.  We then talked about a grade in terms of some of the images in the prezi.

The second learning activity was to calculate a student mark given raw scores and weightings.  This was a great activity and the discussions at the tables were rich, indeed.  The tricky part of this activity is that the student (see prezi) has a mark of zero for a major exam.  The final calculations of grades ranged from 57% to 82% as a mark for this student.  This lead us into a large group discussion about the inclusion of zero in a student mark.  Many members of staff were passionate in their debates…I loved it!

The last activity was 3 questions which groups wrote answers for.  I had originally intended staff to add the answers to a google doc but we were running out of time so I had them answer the questions on the back of the sheet which they used to calculate the student’s mark (above).

Overall, it was a great session in which the professional conversation was stimulating and thought provoking.  It was an awesome introduction for me…the new AP.


About Derek Hatch
Principal in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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