Step 7B: How to Grade for Growth

Grading for Growth in a High-Stakes World: This short blog post from the Mindset Works website provides an overview of classroom practices that help students to develop a growth mindset view of feedback and grades.

After reading the article and a selection of comments posted by other educators, share one specific, practical change you are inspired to make to a grading or assessment practice you currently use.


840 thoughts on “Step 7B: How to Grade for Growth

  1. Shane Riddle says:

    This article has inspired me to try to give students comments without a score on an assessment. This could help create a more low risk environment for students to take a chance to improve. I have reflected on comments on student work. Students who have a low score do not read the comments because they’re already let down by the grade. Students with a high score like to read the comments to boost their perceived intelligence.


  2. Paytsar Sasunyan says:

    I would like to implement the “dispelling the mystery”. It seems like a lot of work to restate the standards in kid friendly language and to prepare rubrics that allow students to self-assess their own performance and set goals for improvement but it might be worthwhile as it will eliminate the frustration that students and teachers feel because our goals seem to be misaligned (learning vs doing just enough to get a grade).


  3. Nicole Niederdeppe says:

    One aspect that I could work on as a grader is “Grade for learning, not labor.” I believe that some of the rubrics that I created did reward completion over demonstrated learning targets, or at least had elements of both. I would remove the wording around “complete” work and try to phrase it more around learning targets being met or exceeded.


  4. Ed N. says:

    Just this semester I left some of the students work ungraded. These assignments allowed students a self made tool that enabled them to be ready to use for an assessment. It’s was nice to discover that the Grading for Growth article makes that very suggestion. Also, some time ago I started telling my students that “school is about learning and not just about grades. ” They have many years of imprinting to overcome but every now and then one of them gets its. They still want an A. It is nice to know that I just may be on the right track.


  5. N Strickland says:

    I’d like to just have a progress monitoring mark in my grade book that doesn’t have weight or a factor in grading. It’s just there to provide feedback to the student. I’d also like to set up conferences with students where I might meet with each student at least once per grading period to empower them to advocate for their own learning.


  6. Poly Peralta says:

    Maybe looking at the idea that a student has the choice of dropping a test score or giving the opportunity to retake an exam. This is definitely way out of my style or approach to my expectation as a teacher


  7. Matthew Lee says:

    I have tried to implement multiple opportunities to demonstrate understanding on various assignments and exams, but I have only found that this creates a lot more grading for the teacher to do. By not grading every assignment and grading for mastery and understanding instead of labor or correctness would both help reduce the amount of work the teacher must do and make the feedback provided a lot more worthwhile to the student.

    One of the things I try to do in class before an exam, I give my students a “quiz” that consists of multiple questions from the section that students should be able to answer relatively quickly. The “quiz” is not part of their grade in any way, but I tell students to use it as a way to determine what they currently do or do not know about the different topics on the exam. For topics that students know very well, they do not need to spend time studying those topics, but should instead focus on the topics that they are consistently making errors in.


  8. Aida says:

    According to the article “Grading for Growth in a High-Stakes World” I need to change the way I provide feedback to my students’ work. I usually write the score and “good job” or “outstanding” note. I will begin to write more specific feedback that will assist them to see if they are mastering the standard; such as “I notice that you used… or you need to …. “


  9. Silvia A. Almaguer says:

    All these ideas are great and make sense. Students have a tendency to write as much of possible without saying anything.
    They always ask , “How many sentences?” or, “How many paragraphs?”
    “If you can read your response and it feels complete, then you probably have explained enough to get a good comment or grade.
    Quality not Quantity
    Grading is subjective, but to the student should be a growth tool.


  10. Agata Bronakowska says:

    One strategy that I am going to incorporate in my teaching is to create more detail rubrics for students to self assess. I just learn about the website to utilize grate for that purpose.


  11. lgoldberg says:

    I think I would like to leave comments written or verbal that go far beyond good job. Providing specific langauge that pair up with a rubric or criteria chart is very valuable to me and most importantly the student.


  12. marilou Adra says:

    I allow my students to retake test by providing mini-tutorial. We go over their mistakes and have one on one conversations to check where the misconception was or to reteach. Sometimes, I give parallel questions if the students is completely lost with the subject. I would like to try writing standards covered by the test to make the explicit what they are learning from that particular test or quiz.


  13. Shannon George says:

    After reading “Grading for Growth in a HIgh Stakes World,” I am most interested in using the method of not grading every assignment, especially in the initial learning period. However, a lot of my students won’t do work if they feel it won’t be graded, and therefore I feel that I fall into this trap of grading for compliance.


  14. Emmanuel DM says:

    i am utilizing more of Khan Academy into my math curriculum because it allows all my student to work as hard and as much as they want to. They can master one topic at a time and they see that if they do not succeed at first (6 correct questions in a row) they learn to persevere as they see what they can accomplish.


  15. Valencia says:

    One point I would implement is use the language of growth. I think it will be a small easy, but very impactful change in my room. Maybe this will motivate students to try more and over come challenges, rather than just give up right away.


  16. jeff mcculty says:

    I require my students to re-examine the questions that they got incorrect on an assessment. I allow half credit for questions that students will correct with a verbal explanation of what they did incorrectly. I am trying to get them to examine the errors in their thinking and correct them. I also target specific mathematical concepts that are targeted for long periods of time. I will test integers and fractions on most of my tests in the eighth grade year. It gives students multiple oppurtunities to learn these processes


  17. Kevin says:

    I will give more explicit feedback so the students know where their mistakes are in their learning and not just give points. If I do give points, then I want my students to know how much mastery they have attained relating to those points.


  18. Lynn Brown says:

    I am inspired to use the language of growth in my class. I tried this by giving my students a four problem “pop quiz”. I did not enter their grade in my grade book, instead I told them this was an opportunity to reflect on their progress and learn from their mistakes. I had students helping students. I gave the same “pop quiz” two days later and my students showed tremendous improvement. Moreover, I noticed their attitude toward learning improved as well.


  19. Alexandra Hohmann says:

    Since I am working on implementing mastery based grading this year, I am doing many of the items mentioned in the article. However, because I am figuring it out as I go (and this type of grading system is brand new to many students), I want to be more explicit about giving specific feedback and helping students take ownership of their grade. I want to start weekly grade checks and show students the importance of paying attention to feedback.


  20. Ryan Pool says:

    Create multiple opportunities for mastery. This is a concept that I attempt to apply in my classroom. I have worked with my co-teacher to offer students opportunities to address deficits in skills in a variety of ways. We often conference with students, using the period as a time for reflection, offering students opportunities to work toward mastery in new ways or with individualized plans.


  21. In thinking about how I am grading now, I place more emphasis on cumulative tests using short answers and just give credit for trying many assignments that I then use to design interventions. The one bullet point I’m willing to try on trust is :The word is more powerful than the score (but only if you keep them apart).
    Written feedback from teachers is a much more effective learning aid than a grade. It helps students
    understand what they need to work on to improve. But research studies have shown that most
    students will not read comments on an assignment if there is a score attached. So give comments
    alone on some assignments, especially as students are building skills—and make them really
    informative. A good question to ask yourself is whether what you have written provides enough
    information to guide the student toward improvement.
    It is time-consuming to write feedback and when I do spend the time I want them to see it and consider it so if removing the grade will help I will try it.


  22. I tried the “risk free” time at the beginning of the year and students with growth mind set appreciated it. Students with fixed mind set go it in their mind it should be that way the whole year. I have thought of education, “To whom much is given, much more is required.” Meaning that there is increasingly more student responsibility as the year progresses. Small formative quizzes are considered rehearsal for the tests which are rehearsal for the exam and the later scores can replace previous scores. However, though I am implementing this, I struggle with the best way to do this.


  23. Elizabeth Clark says:

    I love all these ideas, and I have moved to making students more accountable by having them evaluate the strengths and area for growth in their writing, as well as giving opportunity for revisions, but giving thoughtful feedback on more than three or four assignments a year is very difficult when you have 210 students. One strategy might be to stagger the assignments that are graded, so you’re never grading more than 60 at a time, but that might be difficult.


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