To address any problem you must first be able to talk about it. So the purpose of this first chapter is to clarify terms, identify purposes, and describe developments that have led to recent changes in grading and reporting. With a common knowledge base and shared vocabulary, parents and educators will be better prepared to communicate about grading and reporting, and then cooperate in improvement efforts.
Although people hold widely varying views about grading, most agree that it's essentially an exercise in professional judgment on the part of teachers. Grading involves the collection and evaluation of evidence on students' achievement or performance. Sometimes this evidence comes from a single demonstration of learning. For example, a teacher might evaluate students' performance on a single assignment, quiz, oral report, or composition. At other times grading involves teachers' summary judgments of a collection of evidence on student learning drawn from several sources over an extended period of time. This time period is usually referred to as a