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How's My Kid Doing?: A Parent's Guide to Grades, Marks, and Report Cards



How's My Kid Doing?: A Parent's Guide to Grades, Marks, and Report Cards

Thomas R. Guskey

ISBN: 978-0-787-96735-2 March 2003 Jossey-Bass 168 Pages


In How's My Kid Doing? noted educator Thomas R. Guskey has created a practical handbook for parents who have trouble understanding their school-age children's grades, report cards, and test scores. This down-to-earth guide will help parents make sense of school reports and offers a helpful resource that can open communications between parents and teachers.

Preface viii

1. Getting Started 1

What Do We Mean by Grading and Reporting? 1

Are Grading and Reporting Essential? 3

Why Are Educators Changing Their Grading and Reporting Methods? 4

What Are the Purposes of Grading and Reporting? 6

Why Should We Develop a Reporting System? 8

How Do We Develop a Reporting System? 9

How Do We Clarify the Purpose of Each Reporting Tool? 11

Summary 12

2. Perceptions and Responsibilities 13

Parents' Perceptions of Grading and Reporting 13

Parents' Perceptions of Teachers 16

Teachers' Perceptions of Grading and Reporting 17

Sources of Teachers' Grading and Reporting Practices 18

Students' Perceptions of Grading and Reporting 20

The Points-Driven Academic Economy of Classrooms 21

Summary 23

3. Challenges for Teachers in Grading and Reporting 25

Limiting Subjectivity in Grading 25

Balancing Instructional Concerns with Grading Requirements 26

Establishing Grading Criteria: Norm-Referenced Versus Criterion-Referenced Criteria 27

Clarifying Learning Criteria 28

Deciding What Sources of Evidence to Use 31

Relating Evidence to Purpose 38

Summary 39

4. Grading and Reporting Methods 41

Letter Grades 42

Plus and Minus Letter Grades 48

Categorical Grades 50

Percentage Grades 54

Standards-Based Grading 56

Narratives and Comments 63

Summary 68

5. Special Issues in Grading and Reporting 71

Grading on the Curve 71

Selecting Valedictorians 74

Setting Grade Cutoffs 76

Using Weighted Grades 81

Dealing with Grade Inflation 83

Summary 87

6. Developing Better Grading and Reporting Systems 89

The Importance of Purpose 89

The Challenge of Effective Communication 90

Tools for a Comprehensive Reporting System 91

Technology and Grading 106

Summary 111

7. Making Improvements in Grading and Reporting 113

Working with Teachers 113

Working with Children 118

Gradual Change Strategies 124

Conclusion 126

References 127

The Author 135

Index 137