To be an authentic STEAM school, we have to be intentional about the types of assessments we demand from our students and our grading practices. Our students engage in collaborative interdisciplinary projects that relate their learning experiences to the work of their parents at the STEAM-related companies in our community. We focus on our students mastering learning outcomes, rather than on points and percentages.
We base our assessment types on the needs of our state’s STEAM careers, the gaps of the district evaluation scores, and student/teacher/parent communication. Our state has the most opportunities to begin a career in the STEAM fields, but the same evidence shows that most of those jobs are not taken by students from Washington. This shows that our state might not meet the expectations of a significant career field. The achievement gap in test scores are widening, and the current communication of assessment does not accurately identify why there are these gaps. We propose that our types of assessments are rubric based with an emphasis in connecting each rubric to the grade level standards.
Grading practices are the culture of how we assess student achievement. We recognize that summarizing a student’s learning experience into a single letter grade is often misleading and not a full summary of the student’s abilities, skills, or knowledge. Our goal, through assessment, is to facilitate an ongoing conversation around the growth of each students as they focus on 1) the learning standards established by the state and district and 2) their own personal goals and dreams for future success. As these are potentially divergent, grading practices may be modified as appropriate with the student at the forefront of all decisions. We will utilize the following grading practices:
Standard Based Grading
Involves measuring students proficiency on well defined course objectives. Mastery of standards will be translated into simple GPA language for ease of transcription and transfer grades.
A statement on the purpose and the particular learning standard in each lesson
Tangible product demonstrating students achieved the learning target
Clearly communicated levels of measurable progression toward mastery of learning standards
We will utilize the following assessment types to measure our students' progress toward mastering learning outcomes (included, but not limited to):
Continuing Assessments to Monitor Progress (Formative Assessments)
Mandatory state and federal tests, unit posters, projects (interdisciplinary and course-specific), presentations, videos, self reflections, peer evaluations,paper pencil tests, essays, Digital portfolio (a collection of evidence of proof of meeting standards)
Powerschool, Hapara (online classroom and workspace), Google Apps for Education (Google Classroom, Drive, Docs, Slides, Sites, and Sheets), Kahoot.com (online multiple choice/true false assessment), LiveBinders or SeeSaw (online porfolio)
Public Demonstrations of Learning
Semester exhibitions, Industry Panels, Competitions
Implementation of the above grading practices and assessment types will be used as appropriate by each teacher for their content area. Practices may range from a traditionally paced grading approach, to standards based grading using project based learning. The goal of all assessment is to assist students in mastering all topics as appropriate to them, and implementation will be modified or revised by staff to accommodate student needs.
Standards Based Grading
Students are provided with grade appropriate standards and opportunities to express mastery of those standards over various topics and times. Students and teachers participate in the evaluation of learning standards and progress throughout the course of the year. Mastery of standards will be translated into simple GPA language for ease of transcription and transfer grades.
Project Based Learning
Students work in collaborative groups on a portion or entirety of a large scale project. The instructor creates structure and monitors that projects are focused on appropriate standards. Feedback is provided throughout the project from peers, staff, and the community for the purpose of revision to achieve mastery.
Progress Based Learning
Students may be graded based on total progress forward from an established baseline. They will progress through appropriate learning standards, but assessed based on the measured growth over time rather than against a preset criteria. Their expected growth may be determined collaboratively by staff and/or parents and compared with their measured growth to translate into a simple GPA for transcription and transfer grade purposes.