General Grading Information
I use proficiency-based grading. This means that I score students' work based on the proficiency they show toward achieving learning targets. In English Language Arts, these are Common Core Standards for English Language Arts. In Creative Writing, we use a mix of National Core Arts Standards and Common Core English Language Arts Standards. The possible marks are HP (highly proficient), PR (proficient), CP (close to proficient) and DP (developing proficiency). Click here to see a chart that describes in general terms what students demonstrate at each level of proficiency.
With proficiency-based grading, student scores should improve over time as they learn and master new material. Students are not penalized for not understanding early in the learning cycle as the score reported in the grade book will reflect the trend of their scores. This means that if they began poorly, but show proficiency now, they will have a proficient score. As long as the student strives to improve their knowledge and skills, their grade can improve. This is because Synergy uses the power law, which means that recent scores are weighted more heavily than older scores for each standard.
The grade book in Synergy allows you see your student's relative proficiency for each learning target, and a summarized mark, based on all the learning targets, for the course overall. Synergy summarizes marks in this way:
It is important for families and students to recognize that they won't see letter grades (A-F) or percentages on graded work or in the grade book, but rather marks that describe the proficiency the student shows in terms of the standards.There is not a correspondence between A-F grades and proficiency marks. For example, if you are a student who is used to getting all A's, that does not necessarily mean that you will get HP's, since an HP means going above and beyond the standard in particular ways.
Synergy, the Online Grade Book
Rubrics for Writing and Speaking
I score assignments and assessments based on proficiency toward achieving the set learning target(s). The possible scores are HP (highly proficient), PR (proficient), CP (close to proficient) and DP (developing proficiency). The learning targets are visible in Synergy and on assignment handouts.
Several times per year, I use the six-trait Oregon State Writing Scoring Guide to score final drafts and the four-trait Oregon State Speaking Scoring Guide to scored formal speeches. Here is a link to the Oregon State Scoring Guides, in student language form, for writing and speaking. Click on the link, and then scroll down past math and other subjects to get to writing and speaking. I usually use this seventh grade writing rubric (State Scoring Guide. Also, here is a copy of the State Writing Scoring Guide that includes the trait of Citing Sources. We write poetry every quarter in the language arts and creative writing classes. Here is the rubric for scoring poems. Sometimes, we write Flash Fiction (or Nonfiction); here is the Flash rubric. Here is the rubric for children's nonfiction books. And here is the rubric for text-based writing samples.
From time to time, I will use the Common Core's Smarter Balanced rubric. This rubric establishes a four-point scoring guide across the six traits.
Since I am transitioning from letter grades to proficiency-based grading this year, I will be updating assignment-specific rubrics throughout the year. These will be posted here as they are needed and ready.