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Reflect on the ideas presented by Jay McTighe in the "Grading and Reporting" media segment about the different (and sometimes unspoken) components that teachers tend to factor into their grading practices. Then, describe how the "3 P's" of grading and reporting will help you to establish, maintain, and communicate "honest and fair" records of student work and performance.

Teachers adopt different approaches in evaluating a student’s performance. This variation is evident even among teachers within the same school and teaching at similar grade levels. This largely results from the diversity in teachers’ views concerning appropriate methods of collecting and evaluating evidence relating to the performance of a student over a defined period. While some teachers consider the need to create a distinction between achievement grades and assessments relating to learning skills and efforts, other consider the grading of a student as wholesome process in which differentiated evaluation cannot effectively measure a student’s performance. For example, while some teachers grade students using the traditional letter grades and recordings on report forms for subjects undertaken by a student, others use descriptive categories as alternatives to letter grades.

The 3 P’s model of grading and reporting focuses on enhancing aspects relating to the participation, progress and performance of a student within the learning environment.  It creates opportunities for teachers to assess students frequently and take corrective measures early in the learning process. By promoting participation, I will enhance collaborative efforts, which will allow the communication of various aspects of students’ assessment. Questioning members of a class encourages them to present ideas concerning the subject of discussion and promotes new ways of thinking.

Concerning the students’ progress and performance, I will introduce programs that encourage students to put into practice new ideas and concepts introduced in the classroom. Classroom assignments and homework are crucial tools that encourage students to integrate classroom knowledge in solving practical problems. Timely feedback on assignments and homework ensures that students have a satisfactory understanding of a topic before proceeding to other chapters in the course outline. Creating a balance between performance and progress is important to discourage students from concentrating on only one component of the 3 P’s.

In the "Grading and Reporting" chapter excerpt, Jay McTighe and Carol Ann Tomlinson state that the primary goal of grading and reporting should be to “communicate to important audiences, such as students and parents, high quality feedback to support the learning process and encourage learner success." Based on the information provided in the excerpt, describe what comprises high-quality feedback and how this type of feedback enhances student learning.

Teacher’s feedback is crucial in the reinforcement of a student’s expectations and progress within the learning process. However, the quality of a teacher’s feedback determines the extent to which a student develops appropriate perceptions concerning their abilities. A good-teacher feedback should possess characteristics that foster students’ achievements. First, a good-quality feedback should be timely in such a manner that it allows students to evaluate what they have covered before proceeding to the next portion of the course work (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006). This allows students to correct their mistakes early in the learning process and minimizes the workload at all stages of the learning process. In addition, it encourages students to understand learning goals and standards.

Secondly, a good-quality feedback should entail comprehensive information that not only focuses on highlights areas that students need to self-correct their performance, but also provide opportunities for improvement in subsequent tasks.

Thirdly, a good-quality feedback should encourage teacher-student dialogue in the learning process. This is important in motivating students and boosting their self-esteem. Teacher-student dialogue eliminates the rift between teachers and students and encourages consultations. In addition, it promotes collaborative efforts between teachers and students towards the achievement of the desired performance. When students can freely communicate with teachers concerning various challenges relating to the learning process, teachers can easily identify areas that need improvement and take corrective measures.  Furthermore, teacher-student dialogue highlights the importance of feedback to students concerning the achievement of learning objectives.

Fourthly, a good-quality feedback should only focus on the weaknesses relating a student’s performance, but should also highlight the student’s strength. When students realize they are making progress in the learning exercise, they become more motivated to improve on their weaker areas. However, feedback based solely on a student’s weakness is likely to have negative impacts on a student’s self-esteem and hamper efforts concerning the attainment of learning objectives.

Also in the Tomlinson and McTighe excerpt on grading and reporting, the authors point out that grading and assessment are not synonymous. Describe the difference between grading and assessment and explain why this difference is important, especially when using diagnostic or pre-assessments and formative assessments.

Although both grading and assessment aim to identify a student’s progress, the purpose of grading is to rank a student’s progress and performance. On the other hand, assessment focuses the improvement of learning. Thus, while grades relate to an individual student, assessment incorporates an entire group of students and focuses on various aspects relating to a group-learning (Suskie, 2009). While assessment gathers data relating to the teaching and learning of students, grading concerns the determination of an outcome based on the data gathered through assessment.  It is, therefore, important for educators to avoid incorporating aspects of evaluation during the assessment process.

The difference between grading and assessment is important when using diagnostic and formative assessments. The main objective for diagnostic assessment is to help a teacher identify the students’ level of understanding concerning a particular subject before teaching commences. This form of assessment helps a teacher to have an overview of students’ strengths and weaknesses, and can therefore plan on the appropriate teaching approach. Thus, diagnostic assessment should not include aspects that seek to define the level of achievement of a student relating to a particular subject. Diagnostic assessments such as pre-tests and self-assessments should not in any way influence the grading process.

Educators use formative assessment to obtain information during the learning process. The main purpose of this form of assessment is to determine the students’ level of progress based on the learning objectives and identify areas that need improvement. However, formative assessment is not graded. It provides a gauge for the learning progress and enables teachers to implement appropriate instructional methods (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006). In addition, it should promote opportunities for re-delivery and re-assessment. While grading provides a narrow scope of a student’s progress through tests and projects, assessment encompasses numerous concepts unrelated to grading such as student’s behavior, which influences a student’s performance. 

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