Wayzata Public Schools

Grading for Learning (Middle Schools)

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The mission of Wayzata Public Schools is to ensure a world-class education that prepares each and every student to thrive today and excel tomorrow in an ever-changing global society. We in the Wayzata middle schools believe each student needs specific and timely feedback on their learning progress in order to accomplish that mission. To support those efforts, a standards-based 4-3-2-1 grading system called Grading for Learning will be implemented at the start of the 2016-17 school year.

What is Grading for Learning?
Grading for Learning (GfL) is a grading system used in many schools across the country and soon to be used in the Wayzata middle schools. This approach focuses on progress toward statewide standards for each course.

  • Each course has standards that are now grouped into components.
  • Your student's progress toward each component will be evaluated, and students will receive ongoing feedback about their progress.
  • Your student's personal management, which includes behavior, effort and timeliness, will be reported separately at the end of each semester.
  • Skyward Gradebook is accessible 24/7 and will show your student's progress toward each standard. Your student's report card comes out after each semester and will show your student's final marks on each component.

How does a 4-3-2-1 grading scale work?
The 4-3-2-1 grading scale does not translate to A-F grades. The highest score possible for some standards is a "3." It reflects proficiency. If a "4" is possible, teachers will tell your child how to achieve it. It usually involves going in-depth on a task or topic instead of doing more work.

  • 4 = Exceeding expectations at the established level
  • 3 = Meeting expectations at the established level
  • 2 = Approaching expectations at the established level
  • 1 = Attempting expectations at the established level
  • IE = Insufficient Evidence
  • NA = Not assessed

What does a student report card look like in Grading for Learning?
There are two main parts of a Grading for Learning report card, Academic Achievement (Assessment) and Personal Management. Academic achievement is based on what knowledge and skills (related to the academic grade level standards) students demonstrate. Personal Management includes behavior, effort and timeliness.

Grading for Learning Report Card

Why are we adopting Grading for Learning practices?
Grading for Learning provides more concrete and specific feedback about progress toward academic standards than an individual letter grade. It puts the focus on the learning rather than the accumulation of points and gives students more authentic feedback on their progress toward the academic standards.

What are the guiding beliefs of Grading for Learning?
Research has shown measuring students' progress based on district and state standards is most effective in advancing learning. Grading for learning ensures that students' "grades" clearly represent their level of mastery of grade-level learning targets. The best preparation for the world beyond school is to learn essential content and skills well.

What kind of feedback will be provided?
Feedback goes well beyond a few words jotted on top of a homework assignment. Teachers are trained to provide feedback to students that is timely, specific and actionable. That can take many forms – written, verbal, large group or individual.

Will students still be able to access retakes?
Yes and no. If the skills being assessed appear multiple times within the course a retake may not be necessary. If the skills won't be addressed again, a retake is highly recommended to ensure students learn the material.

If a student has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), will he/she be assessed using Grading for Learning?
Yes. In general education classes, student progress will be measured by their growth toward grade-level standards. In special education pull-out courses, the IEP goals will be the guide. Progress on the IEP goals will be reflected on the individual progress report.

Will students be ready for the Wayzata High School and beyond?
Yes. Grading for Learning will give students and teachers a better assessment of learning and will give teachers a better idea of students' strengths. Grading for Learning will help students take responsibility for their learning and understand where they need to improve, helping students focus more on the learning and less on the grade.