Looking for ideas about how to blend or streamline scoring for assignment points AND standards scores? Or, how to translate existing scores to 4-3-2-1? Read on.
For a walkthrough of how to attach and report standards in Synergy, click here.
To access links to the actual course standards, or for answers to frequently asked questions, click here.
The new report card includes 4-3-2-1 scores on standards that are assessed in your class
The purpose of this page is to provide a reference you can use as you work with your team to coordinate standards reporting and scoring. The new report card (scroll through it below) still reports letter grades for each course a student takes. In addition, it reports specific standards students are working to meet. Student progress on these standards are scored using a 4-level scale of performance descriptors. On this page, we will explore some of the different approaches staff are taking to report these standards.
The image below shows a mockup of the new report card that goes into use for this current 2015-16 school year:
LETTER GRADES are still reported, but specific standards are included (reported using a 4-3-2-1 scale, which is discussed below).
How are the standards scored (what's the scale)?
LEVEL 1: OVERALL DISTRICT DESCRIPTORS
Let's start with the overall district descriptor scale that will be used on the actual report card (see below, and click on image for more detailed enlargement). Because this scale has to apply to all levels, K-12, and all subject areas, it is necessarily broad in its descriptions. We will call this scale LEVEL 1.
LEVEL 2: COURSE-SPECIFIC SCORING GUIDE DEVELOPED WITH YOUR COURSE TEAM
The district scale probably won't be sufficient to use as a scoring guide for students in your course because it is so broad and lacks specific language related to the content, skill or concept standards you are assessing. Designing a specific rubric to measure a standard using a 4-3-2-1 mark is LEVEL 2. Each team, or teacher (if you are the only one teaching your course), has several possible ways of going about this. Such a scoring guide might look something like this:
SCORING GUIDE created by a team with more specific language for assessment.
INTEGRATING POINTS AND 4-3-2-1
For many teachers and course teams, it may make good sense to keep the existing points-based grade system and to continue to award points on projects, tests and major assignments as you have been doing. There is no need (and certainly no requirement) to switch to a system like that described in Option 2 (below) in order to report standards scores on a 4-point scale. In this case, the grade will still be generated by assignments and tests entered in Synergy TeacherVUE the same way they always have been, with your traditional grade scale being applied to determine the letter grade.
What WILL be new in this option is the fact that there will be a second score to enter (on the 4-3-2-1 standards scale), but only on those assignments or assessments for which you and your team have agreed to attach one or more standards.These would usually be summative assessments of some kind. Many assignments will not have any standards attached to them and no score need be determined and entered in Synergy for those.
If you have a project that assesses a standard (or multiple standards) using a 10-point, 100-point, or 150-point scale (you get the idea), one option is to modify the rubric scoring guide you give to students and use to grade the assessment by including both a 4-3-2-1 scale and, within that, specific points to be awarded for a grade that are within each of the four levels. Pictures say more than words, so check out the example below (modified from the previous rubric):
A key point to grasp is that teachers who are integrating points and 4-3-2-1 standards scores will record POINTS (that go beyond the number 4) for assignments to determine the grade, but they will also click the nearly hidden arrow to enter Standards scores [see Synergy training page for clear, illustrated details of this process] and enter a 4-3-2-1 score for these standards. Within Synergy, the 4-3-2-1 score will not affect the calculation of the grade. However, the idea is that the grade WILL be affected because your team, or you, will have entered POINTS scores that are commensurate with the importance of the project, test or assessment. In other words, there is a purposeful correlation between the points score and the standards score. What might this look like, when you put it all together?
TRANSLATING TEST SCORES TO 4-3-2-1
With unit tests, the first key is to meet as a team to set up consistency in the translation of raw test points-based scores to 4-3-2-1 standards scores. If the test is designed to assess only one standard, the approach is fairly straight forward. If you can agree on a translation scale, simply enter the equivalent Standards score (4, 3, 2 or 1) AFTER entering the raw points score in the Assignments view in Synergy. Different teams in the school might disagree whether a 78% on a unit test is a 2 or a 3, but it is most crucial for the same teachers teaching the same course to all agree (and use the same translation scale). Secondarily, it is a very good idea for the department to agree on an overall translation scale for all of its courses, whenever this is possible to achieve. Check out this example of a fairly standard set up:
What if a test assesses more than one standard?
In that case, there are a few options. In order to truly report a student's performance on a specific standard, your team would need to identify and isolate the problems, questions, or tasks that assess a specific standard and collect data for performance on each standard. It would probably be easiest to simply break the test into one part per standard (so, a test with three standards becomes a three part test, isolating each standard). You could still add them all together to report one total score (and attach three standards), or simply report three test scores and attach one standard to each (which would make for an easier correlation). In many cases, this won't be necessary, since a test may only assess one overall standard. As with all things, talk with course team members and your department about what is best for your subject and discipline.
MERGING STANDARDS AND POINTS
Some teachers and course (or department) teams have taken a different approach that may, or may not, make sense for your course team, and for you. They have decided to report ALL major performance scores (and, possibly, summative personal management scores) on a 4-3-2-1 scale by designing rubrics for these standards.In fact, some teams don't report the numbers 4-3-2-1 in the Assignment column in Synergy but instead report their descriptor equivalents (E = Exceeds; M = Meets; NM = Nearly Meets; BG = Beginning). This can make for a more streamlined approach, from one perspective, in that the Synergy Assignment grade and the Synergy Standards score are the same. This is what is meant by a standards-based grade book. It is not that the teachers who are integrating and translating are not teaching to standards while teachers who are merging standards and points are. Standards are the basis of instruction in both approaches. "Standards-based grade book" means the entries in the grade book ARE standards for those who take the merging approach. Instead of listing a project with an overall grade, teachers with a merged system will list the different standards being assessed by that project and the 4-3-2-1 (or E-M-NM-B) marks for each standard.
How do course teams and teachers using this approach work around the fact that a student who consistently scores 2s would be given a grade of F by Synergy (since 50% = F on a traditional grade scale)? Given that students performing at that level would quite likely receive a C or D in a traditional class, it seems unreasonable for a string of 2 marks to result in a failing grade. There are a couple of ways around this:Eitheradjust the overall grading scale to better match students' performance ORuse a performance "matrix" method (in which students need combinations of different types of scores to achieve letter grades).
If you would like more information about how a merged approach to scores and standards might work, just let us know. We can put you in touch with people who are using either of the most common approaches to it.