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Learning about Assessment, Grading, and Practices that Matter from Rick Wormeli

January 31, 2012

Book authored by Rick Wormeli, (tower.com)

I had the luxury of time today and spent part of my day listening to Rick Wormeli’s series on assessment, grading, and related practices that matter in the lives of teachers.  At the Center for Teaching, we are working closely with Westminster’s Elementary School Assessment Task Force, a group of dedicated educators that have spent the better part of two years studying grading, assessment, constructing effective learning goals, and building a report card that moves from assigning grades to measuring student progress on their learning goals.  It has been a rewarding learning experience for everyone, and while the journey isn’t over the excitement as we get closer to the finish-line is very positive.   The Task Force’s effort has involved hard work, collaboration, and building consensus with their other 70+ colleagues, as well as designing communication tools and educational sessions for the parents of nearly 500 students.

What I learned from listening to Rick Wormeli, as well as reading some recent articles he published, reinforced my confidence that Westminster’s Elementary School faculty are on the right track.

Rick Wormeli’s biography is on AEI Speaker Bureau website (click here for bio).  He is a Nationally Board Certified educator, author, and speaker.  He has authored many books and articles on differentiated instruction, assessment, and grading.

Rather than try to summarize Rick Wormeli’s knowledge and experience with assessment and grading that he shares in his ten You Tube videos, I thought I would provide a guide for listening to them.  While I watched them in a random order, the list below (click on each title to view it) is my suggestion for a sequence to use when watching them.  I did not include the introductory video.  Each piece is anywhere between 5-8 minutes long.           

  1. Defining Mastery
  2. Formative and Summative Assessment
  3. Standards Based Grading
  4. Gradebooks
  5. How much should homework count?
  6. On Late Work
  7. Redos, Retakes, and Do-Overs, Part 1
  8. Redos, Retakes, and Do-Overs, Part 2
  9. School Leaders Working With Faculty
  10. Effecting Change

Below is a one sentence description of each video.

  1. Is mastery learning something we can do in schools?
  2. What are the fundamental differences & how can formative assessment transform a classroom for a student?
  3. What does standards-based grading look like & how can teachers implement it?
  4. What is the purpose of a grade-book & how to set-up a standards-based grade-book
  5. What is the value of homework & how should it be counted in a grade?
  6. What should we do when grading late work?
  7. What is the rationale for implementing test corrections & how can they impact student learning?
  8. Part 2 is a continuation of Part 1 video
  9. How can school leaders support teachers when trying to implement “fair isn’t equal” & creating culture where we can talk about grading?
  10. What leaders should do to support teachers & school culture?

I learned a great deal from watching Rick Wormeli and hope you find the experience as valuable as I did.  You might also check out my blog post from earlier today on what is happening in the E.E. Ford Cohorts at the Center for Teaching on assessment (When Students “Fail” Should They be Given Do-Overs?).

So in closing, I left the day feeling that all teachers have a responsibility to be sure every student has hope that success is just around the corner if given enough time and the opportunity to master the learning goals we value.

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