Using a standards-based report card, Ellington Middle School has completed a multiyear shift to mastery based learning and proficiency based grading practices. The EMS grading practices now reflect these mastery based principles.
Separating Academic and Effort
Ellington Middle School attempts to separate student effort from student academic skills by providing two different types of feedback and grades. The first is an academic grade. The academic grade is based on course specific skills outlined in the report card supplement document, Grade Level Expectations. The academic grade should only reflect student performance levels related to these academic skills.
The second feedback/grade students will receive will be based on their overall effort. Students will receive feedback on their level of effort as described in the PRIDE effort expectations. Students receiving an average of 2.5 PRIDE effort score on their report card will be awarded Student Society status.
Redo, Revise and Retake
In an effort to foster a growth mindset in students, Ellington Middle School provides opportunities for students to submit late work, to redo assignments and assessments, revisit and revise their writing, and retake tests and quizzes. Students are provided multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding, however the following parameters apply:
Teachers may (will?) request students provide evidence of new learning before providing redo/retake opportunities.
Portions of the assessment that have already been completed in a satisfactory manner do not need to be done again.
Grades are not averaged. The grade that best reflects student mastery of materials is the grade that counts. In most instances, this will be the grade on the redo or retake. The grade for late work should be based on the quality of work, not the date of submission.
Homework is an extension of classroom learning providing students opportunities to practice newly taught skills. It is not an effective way of accurately assessing student learning. As a result, homework completion will be reflected in the students’ Pride effort grade and not in the academic grade. Students who are chronically missing homework assignments (three or more per trimester) will be assigned to Three Strikes. Three strikes is different from an office detention and is a same day afterschool opportunity for students to complete a missing assignment.
Home study is a necessary part of each pupil’s educational program. Each student is expected to spend some time in addition to scheduled class instruction to achieve satisfactory work. Some assignments are long range in nature and require planned study. This eliminates the necessity of spending too much time in completing an assignment the day before it is due.