Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting Minutes – 12/3/13



Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting









Eric and Myra returned and began the meeting by distributing a questionnaire concerning the activity at last week’s meeting.



Eric reviewed the concerns and the outline for today’s session.  He mentioned that grading is the preview of teachers, but many of us have not had experience with grading.  What are the best practices in grading?  We should be concerned with content and also with assessment.



We recognize there is inconsistency in grading and Eric and Myra would like to disrupt this.  One other outcome is to come to a consensus as to what is in a grade.  Students do many different activates and work and then at the end we give students a single grade. What should be in that grade?



Eric reviewed the agenda.  The minute paper was first.  He then reviewed the norms of the group:  Raising hands; step-up/step-back, assume positive intentions.



Framing for the Day:  How we grade students is within our control.  Inconsistency in grading among teachers is the NORM.  There is no DISTRICT grading policy—what do we want to create as a school?



Stan asked Eric to define inconsistency in grading.  Eric said that some students may have different experiences with different teachers.  Stan asked if Eric was recommending that teachers teach everything the same.  Eric said practices and grading go hand in hand.  He said we should be looking at our grading practices.



Myra talked about a handout Eric presented and asked everyone to partner up and spend 10 minutes discussing the prompts.  A’s and B’s pair together, C’s and D’s pair together.  First read the prompts and then discuss the concepts on the prompt.



Eric said the prompts are not from them, but are from an article that they will share with the group later in the meeting.



Eric asked the group to share their thoughts in the discussions.  These are conversation starters.



Thought A was read out loud first.  Mat read the thought.  Grades should reflect achievement of intended learning outcomes—whether the school is using a conventional, subject-based report card or a report card that represents these intend learning outcomes as standards. Mat said the good point was intended learning outcomes and thought about the mercy C in grading.  Sometimes we have to look at other things.


Michelle said they talked about the concept of learning can include improvement.  She mentioned contracts with students and the category of improvement in the grade.


Kathleen said if you look at the starting point and how far they have come they could deserve an A, but they still cannot go onto the next level.



Stan read Thought B and said he disagreed with it.  The primary audience for the message conveyed in grades is students and their parents; grading policies should aim to give them useful, timely, actionable information.  Teachers, administrators and other educators are secondary audiences. He felt the primary persons are for students and teachers.


Michelle said having time to do the grading is a challenge.


Lisa said colleges are a huge audience for grades at the high school level.


Joseph said the audience might be changing as students go through high school.  They are moving away from the parents and thinking about college and their futures.



Alicia read Thought C. Grades should reflect a particular students individual achievement.  Group and cooperative skills are important but they should be reflected elsewhere, not in an individual’s academic grade.  She felt it was not true.  Katie agreed.  Stan said cooperation is an important part of learning.


Eric mentioned a student who is not participating in the group work, but does know the material.  How do we handle this and grading for that student? Lisa discussed cooperative group work.


David talked about cooperative work and skills.


Michelle talked about higher achieving students versus the anxiety around some students and the product.


Marcus shared his experience with his daughter’s doctors and their discussions and compared this to schoolwork.



Doug read Thought D. Grading policies should be set up to support student motivation to learn.  A student should never reach a place where there is no point doing any more work because failure is inevitable.  Doug agreed with this thought, except for the word “Never.”  He felt students should be aware of this as they are going along.


David asked if there is anything in Board Policy about absences and passing or failing a class.  The answer is no. 


Stan said a student could miss all classes, take the exams, and could then get a final grade of D.


Kathleen asked him about those who show up all the time, but blow the final.  Stan explained his grading policy about this.


Katie talked about parent conferences and how to grade those students who start attending the last several weeks of the semester.


Stan said that 1 student aced the final after attending only 3 times during the semester and received a D.


Michelle says this happens in college—not attending classes, but can read and do well on the exams.



Eric mentioned thinking about what is important, what is being assessed, what are participation points.



Eric distributed the article mentioned earlier in the meeting and then he distributed the protocol—Punctuate Your Thoughts Protocol.  Eric guided the group as to what to read in the article.  We will skip to Step 2.  He asked the group to put an exclamation mark by what is interesting, a? Next to what you might question, and a + sign by what you agree with and a – sign by what you disagree with.



Eric asked the group to divide up into groups of 3 or 4 and asked the group to share their ! thoughts.  This will go for 2-3 minutes.



Next Eric asked the groups to share their ? thoughts for the next 2-3 minutes.



Eric thanked the group for their efforts.  He asked for thoughts that members wanted to share, questions, etc.



David felt the real question is in thinking about what they learned being a goal—how do we access this.  What standards do we use.  He also felt an overall grading policy is difficult for a diverse student body.  Eric promised to share with the group later what Lincoln High School came up with.



Eric referred to the rest of the article and what it addressed.  Myra had other information for the group that she distributed.



Doug asked if the members should share this with their departments.  Eric said it is up to the individual members when to start this conversation with their members.



Meeting adjourned at 1215pm.