Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work

Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work

Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work

Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work

Synopsis

In Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work, Robert J. Marzano provides an in-depth exploration of what he calls one of the most powerful weapons in a teacher's arsenal. An effective standards-based, formative assessment program can help to dramatically enhance student achievement throughout the K 12 system, Marzano says. Drawing from his own and others extensive research, the author provides comprehensive answers to questions such as these:
• What are the characteristics of an effective assessment program?
• How can educators use national and state standards documents as a basis for creating a comprehensive, topic-based assessment system?
• What types of assessment items and tasks are best suited to measuring student progress in mastering information, mental procedures, and psychomotor procedures?
• Why does the traditional point system used for scoring often lead to incorrect conclusions about a student's actual knowledge?
• What types of scoring and final grading systems provide the most accurate portrayal of a student's progress along a continuum of learning? In addition to providing teachers with all the tools they need to create a better assessment system, Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work makes a compelling case for the potential of such a system to transform the culture of schools and districts, and to propel K 12 education to new levels of effectiveness and efficiency.

Excerpt

Improving the academic achievement of K–12 students has been a central concern of educators in the United States since at least the early 1890s, when leaders of industry, politicians, parents, and the society at large realized that an educated populus was the closest thing a country could have to a guarantee of a bright future (Ravitch, 1983). Since that time, a wide array of educational innovations have been tried, all of which were designed to enhance student achievement. Educators have experimented with such things as changing the schedule, decreasing the student-to-teacher ratio, increasing the availability and use of technology, and so on. All of these innovations have merit. However, not even the best has demonstrated the impact on student achievement of the most intuitively important variable in the educational system—the classroom teacher.

Virtually every study that has examined the role of the classroom teacher in the process of educating students has come to the same straightforward conclusion: an effective teacher enhances student learning more than any other aspect of schooling that can be controlled. To illustrate, after analyzing test scores of more than 60,000 students across grades 3 through 5, researchers S. Paul Wright, Sandra Horn, and William Sanders (1997) made the following observation:

The results of this study will document that the most important factor affecting stu
dent learning is the teacher. In addition, the results show wide variation in effective
ness among teachers. The immediate and clear implication of this finding is that
seemingly more can be done to improve education by improving the effectiveness of
teachers than by any other single factor. Effective teachers appear to be effective with
students of all achievement levels, regardless of the level of heterogeneity in their
classrooms. If the teacher is ineffective, students under the teachers tutelage will . . .

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