Grading and Report Cards
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.
When in doubt check with veteran teachers in your school, including your local MEA-MFT president.
Check with your school to find out what computer grading program is used. Get very comfortable with the program and back up, back up, back up! Nothing is more stressful than a crashed computer. Back it up daily! (Electronically or with a hard copy.)
Check with your school policy to find out what grading system is used in your school. There is no common grading system used throughout Montana.
If your school does not have a standard grading system
Here are some suggestions in case your school does not have a standard grading system:
100% (percentage) system: Convert all grades and numbers to a system of 100. It will not only be easier for you to figure out overall; it also gives your students an easily understood index to evaluate their own performance.
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. Use the following example, or consult with other teachers in your building or community to get a sense of what is typical.
|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 = 65
|D- = 62
F = <60
Grade point system: In this system, all letter grades are converted to a grade equivalent, based on the 4.0 system. You can use the following example, or consult with other teachers in your building or community to get a sense of what is typical.
B- = 2.7
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! Below are some common numerical weights for various classroom activities, but you will need to develop your own system based on the types of assignments and assessments you use.
TESTS 50%, QUIZZES 25% PROJECTS 25% or
TESTS 45%, HOMEWORK 10%, QUIZZES 25%, PROJECTS 20%
REPORT CARD COMMENTS
Always be objective when dealing with negative areas. Probably the one area that gets teachers into the most report card 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. For example:
"He's a great student, however..."
"I really enjoy having her in my class. And, she needs to work on her..."
"He's always enthusiastic. However..."
"She always tries to do well. However..."