Rethinking Grading Cohort 2022-2024 includes Melrose High School, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Revere High School, Springfield International Charter School, and South Shore Vocational Technical High School
Schools have assessed student learning and growth with essentially the same grading system for over a hundred years. Since this system was created, the field has learned so much more about the way students learn and what type of learning leads to success in life. What we know now is that the current system does not assess true student learning. The experimentation with alternative learning models that occurred throughout the pandemic opened opportunities to closely examine and reconsider the way that we measure and report on student learning. Consistent with the efforts of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to promote Deeper Learning practices and models, the Rethinking Grading Pilot is an attempt to begin examining how communities across the Commonwealth support true student learning and growth, and to envision a new world for MA schools. It's time to rethink grading.
Rethinking grading is a challenging endeavor, often far more challenging than we realize when we begin the journey. Why? Because at its heart, grading is a reflection of our deepest values and beliefs. While grading manifests as a technocratic practice-involving a ledger sheet of averages and percentages, rubrics, GPAs, credit hours, MCAS scores, attendance, and tardiness rates-the work of rethinking grading is fundamentally cultural. Rethinking grading comes down to community vision and aspirations, and if "done right," it is about aligning reporting on learning (grading) to what we know about the learning process, child and adolescent development, and the demands of career, college, and community life.
To begin, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is supporting five Massachusetts high schools to rethink the grading paradigm through the Rethinking Grading Pilot. With individualized and comprehensive support from reDesign and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, these five schools are on a journey to build equity-centered systems at their schools that assess true student learning. We view this process as bold, pattern-breaking work that creates an opportunity to:
The future of student learning in Massachusetts…
Last Updated: January 5, 2023
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