Whenever I am invited to talk with a group of secondary teachers about assessment, the topic of grading almost always comes up, too.
This parallels my early struggles in using assessment for the purpose of providing feedback to inform future learning. Over time, my core beliefs about grades were challenged and stretched.
At the classroom level, any discussion of assessment ultimately ends up in a discussion of grading. Not only are teachers responsible for evaluating a student’s level of knowledge or skill at one point in time through classroom assessments, they are also responsible for translating all of the information from assessments into an overall evaluation of a student’s performance over some fixed period of time (usually a quarter, trimester, or semester).This overall evaluation is in the form of some type of overall grade commonly referred to as an “omnibus grade.” Unfortunately, grades add a whole new layer of error to the assessment process.