What About Assessment and Grading? PART THREE

OVERVIEW, Part One: (Tuesday)

1) Changing Unit Planning     (2) Changing Instruction      (3) Changing Homework

PART TWO: (Yesterday)

4. Changing Assessment

PART THREE (today):

5. Changing Grading


5. Changing Grading

Ideally,  grades would not be necessary in a effective math classroom. However, as we move toward that ideal, most schools continue to require that we give grades.

Our take: Grades should respect students’ different learning speeds and styles, and reward hard work and progress. For example, a student doing well in Level One or Level Two can get a good grade in that level, giving them the satisfaction of recognition of their work and their own progress at that level, rather than comparing them to other students with different developmental speeds and thinking styles. All students take the same quizzes, but the requirements are higher for each successive level.

Often we let students choose between 2 grades at different levels: For example:


  • One student might struggle with the challenge level, and  end up choosing between a B+ in Level One or a C+  in Level Two:


As you see, there are different maximum quiz scores required for each of the 3 levels. The level is recorded on their progress report.

“SGRs” are what our school uses to guide students on their development in different skill areas:   Organization, Attitude to Learning (Perseverance and risk taking) , Group work, Self-knowledge (correcting work and reflecting on it), Critical thinking and Written work (Showing work neatly in math). Even the SGR requirements are higher for higher level work.

This student might choose the B+, and feel pride and recognition of the progress they’ve made. In our experience, children want to succeed in math – they see it as important, and only give up if they continually meet with failure. We have an advisory program that helps students set goals and make achievement choices, too.

If the occasional student does LESS than their best, and shows low motivation, 3 things happen. They score much lower in their SGRs; we have a discussion with them and their parents; and we might ask them to take the lower grade at Level 2, if we feel that is their capability.

This student knows he is on the path to learning math – he knows that the concrete/pictorial work at Level One will pay off soon, and he’ll gradually progress to Level 2 and beyond.


  • A precocious math student might choose between an A+ in Level Two or a A in Level Three.
  • This student scored 35 on their SGRs, 23 on HW, 18 on Level 1 quizzes, 25 on Level 2 quizzes, and 13 on Level 3 quizzes. Note that they can’t receive more than the maximum points for quizzes at lower levels.

In our experience, these students often choose the A in Level 3, since it gives them recognition for the work they’ve done at that level, which is quite hard to achieve.



You may also like

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: