Believe it or not, tomorrow marks the halfway point of Trimester 1! Six weeks have passed as we celebrate the midpoint of the term with progress reports and formalized feedback to students and parents on how they are doing at school…both academically and behaviorally.
Cue: Employability Rubric!
Some folks have been giving students feedback with the employability rubric tied to individual assignments and activities throughout the trimester. Others choose to report separately on the employability skills at determined points during the term. Still others provide more summative feedback at the end of the trimester. Regardless of the approach, the employability rubric provides a great opportunity to engage students in a reflective dialogue about how they are doing with regard to work completion, behavior, working with others, and participation.
But why give this feedback separately from grades? Why not just roll them into a single letter grade? Why do we have the employability rubric? The research is quite convincing on this subject. According to O’Connor (2009a), variables such as effort, attitude, and participation should be reported separately because they are “difficult to define and even more difficult to measure” (p. 96).
Consider the following research:
Stiggins, Frisbie, and Griswold (1989) recommended that for grades to be accurate and reliable, teachers must communicate grading methods to students and exclude attitude, interest, and personality from grades (p. 14).
According to Gathercoal (2004), grades are often misinterpreted because of “excessive entanglement between achievement and behavior” (p. 153).
Reeves (2008) concluded that when schools disconnect grades from behavior, “student achievement increases and behavior improves dramatically” (p. 90).
Guskey (2009) recommended that school report separate grade for student achievement, learning skills, and student growth (p. 20).
O’Connor (2009b) suggested that “grades must be about achievement with behaviors reported separately” (p. 6).
Consider also the national trend. Council Bluffs is not alone. The national trend in grading is to separate academic grades from student behavior reporting. In fact, a cursory search of grading policies found reporting schemes similar to the Employability Skills Rubric in the following mid- to large-sized urban school districts:
- Indianapolis, Indiana (Pike Township)
- Kirkwood, Missouri (St. Louis)
- Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (Madison)
- Hayfield, Minnesota (Rochester)
- Kodiak, Alaska
Moreover, the practice of reporting important personal assest, deportments, or employability skills separately from grades is not a recent phenomenon. Consider the image below…from the 1950s! Letter grades to communicate academic progress and scores to communicate behavioral performance.
With solid research, national trends, and even historical practices as a compass, it appears that we are on the right track with the employability rubric!Gathercoal, F. (2004). Judicious discipline. (6th ed.). San Francisco: Caddo Gap Press. Guskey, T. R. (2009). Grading policies that work against standards…and how to fix them. In T. R. Guskey (Ed.), Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading (pp. 9-26). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. O’Connor, K. (2009a). How to grade for learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. O’Connor, K. (2009b). Reforming grading practices in secondary schools. Principal’s Research Review, 4(1), 1-7. Reeves, D. B. (2008). Improving student attendance. Educational Leadership, 65(8), 90-91. Stiggins, R.J., Frisbie, D.A., & Griswold, P.A. (1989). Inside high school grading practices: Building a research agenda. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 8(2), 5-14.