2022-2023 FAQs, Updated: November 2nd, 2022
Over the last 6 years, the MS 839 Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and the MS 839 School Leadership Team (SLT) have collaborated to update and revise our grading practices so that our system becomes more transparent and equitable. This set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is a product of the work and learning of these leadership teams and is intended to help clarify our 2022-2023 grading policies and practices.
A note on grade reporting:
This fall, MS 839 transitioned from using Jumprope (an external, standards-based grade reporting system that we’ve used for the last six years) to piloting the new DOE’s Grades, Attendance and Messaging Application (GAMA), as GAMA continues to be developed. While this move hasn’t changed our grading philosophy, we are having to learn this new platform as we use it to communicate with students and families about academic progress. The next big GAMA system update is scheduled for November 15th, 2022. We will be back in touch with updates and new features as they are released!
How and when can I see my child’s grades? Which grades are final?
- Report Cards will be mailed home in early November, early January, mid March, early April, mid May and late June.
- In between progress reports and report cards, assignment grades are visible to families via the DOE’s Grades, Attendance and Messaging Application (GAMA) using the Family and Student Access link: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/learning/student-journey/nyc-schools-account
- The only final grade (that appears on your child’s transcript) is the June 23rd Final Grade Report Card.
- Expedition #1
- Progress Report – October 26, 2022
- Marking Period Report Card – December 23rd, 2022
- Expedition #2
- Progress Report – March 2, 2023
- Marking Period Report Card – April 3, 2023
- Expedition #3
- Progress Report – May 11, 2023
- Final Grade Report Card* – June 23, 2023 *This is the grade that appears on students’ transcripts and is visible to high schools
- Expedition #1
WHAT IS THE MS 839 GRADING PHILOSOPHY?
MS 839 Grading Philosophy (Why) and Corresponding Practices (How)
We believe grades should reflect what students know and can do. In practice, this looks like:
● We assess students through projects, products, written responses, verbal responses, tests, quizzes, presentations, etc.
● Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and Multilingual Learner (MLL) students are graded using grade level standards. Tasks will be modified and management needs will be utilized, however grades will always reflect grade level proficiency.
● We do not give 0s (in addition to being mathematically problematic when it comes to averages, 0s discourage progress and don’t give us any information about what students know or can do)
We believe grades should be based on achievement of grade level standards, not on effort or behavior. In practice, this looks like:
● We use standards-based grading, which means assessing and giving students feedback on their progress towards learning targets.
● We do not give grades for homework, habits of work, effort, behavior, attitude, attendance, participation (all of which can be subjective, inconsistent, and aren’t directly linked to achievement).
● We do give grades for assessments and assignments which can look like quizzes, lab write-ups, problem write-ups, presentations, projects, tests, discussions, short and long responses, etc.
● Note -When an assignment is missing, teachers may enter an `X’ for that assignment (which converts to a 60) or leave the mark blank.
We believe learning is a continuous process. In practice, this looks like:
● We assign higher weights to assignments at the end of learning cycles (and lesser weights to early drafts, quizzes, etc).
● Students are allowed to redo and retry learning targets. (Revisions and additional attempts need to be received by teacher(s) at least a week before the end of a marking period -December 21, March 27, June 16- for that attempt to be reflected in the marking period grade.)
● Teachers provide make-up opportunities to show growth and learning (this might at times look like an immediate “redo” and other times returning to previous learning targets and skills later in an expedition).
We strive to regularly communicate with families about student progress. In practice, this looks like:
● By the midpoint of each expedition, at least 2-3 assignments per core course will be entered into the DOE grading portal (TeachHub/GAMA). By the end of each expedition, students will have 6-8 assignments visible in the DOE grading portal.
What are learning targets? What is standards-based grading? what do 1, 2, 3, and 4 mean?
Understanding the lingo
What are Learning Targets (LTs) and how are they connected to state standards?
Learning Targets (LTs) are the concrete goals for lessons, projects, units, and courses. They are specific descriptions of what we expect students to be able to know and do in each of their classes. Derived from state, national, or city standards, Learning Targets are purposefully written in student-friendly (“I can..”) language. Teachers write and share learning targets for the year, for each expedition, for smaller units and even daily lessons. Time is spent with kids making sure they understand what the learning targets are, and what it looks like to meet or exceed those targets.
What is standards-based grading?
Standards-based grading is a way of assessing and providing feedback to students based on how they are progressing towards learning targets. At MS 839, we use a scale of 1-4 to communicate with students about how fully they are demonstrating the skills and content of their classes.
What does a 1, 2, 3 and 4 mean?
● 1: a student is NOT YET showing that they’re meeting the learning target
● 2: a student is showing that they’re APPROACHING the learning target
● 3: a student is showing that they’re MEETING the learning target
● 4: a student is showing that they’re EXCEEDING the learning target
What do the numbers on my child’s Progress Report mean?
The numbers on the progress report are an average that indicate how close your child is to meeting most of their learning targets for each class. You’ll see the following message directly on the progress report which can help you translate the numbers back into
whether or not they are showing that they are meeting Learning Targets (LTs):
● Averages below 79 show that you are NOT YET (N) approaching most LTs
● Averages between 80 and 90 show that you’re APPROACHING (A) most LTs
● Averages between 91 and 96 show that you’re MEETING (M) most LTs
● Averages above 97 show that you’re EXCEEDING (E) most LTs
Note: these numbers are NOT percentages (i.e. an 80 does not mean 80%).
How will 1, 2, 3, and 4 translate to a 100-scale for high school admissions?
MS 839 2022-2023 Grading Scale
|4||Exceeds the Learning Target(s)|
The student’s work demonstrates an understanding of the learning target that goes substantially above and beyond the goals of the class. Although the work may not be perfect, it includes complexity, originality, depth, synthesis, and application that clearly exceeds what would be expected to meet the standards in this assessment.
|3.5||Exceeds the Learning Target(s)||97|
|3||Meets the Learning Target(s)|
The student’s work fully meets the learning target (LT) and the assessment requirements. The work demonstrates a full understanding of all of the essential skills and knowledge for that learning target.
|2.5||Approaching the Learning Target(s)||90|
|2||Approaching the Learning Target(s)|
The student’s work demonstrates effort to meet the learning target, but the student needs more time to develop a full understanding of the target.
|1.5||Approaching the Learning Target(s)||80|
|1||Not Yet Approaching the Learning Target(s)|
The student’s work does not demonstrate substantive progress towards meeting the learning target or criteria of a given assessment.
|X(Missing)||The student can’t be assessed (i.e. they have not turned in an assignment).||60|
|NG(Not Graded)||The teacher determines that a student should be exempted from an assignment or that an assignment should not|
be part of the overall grade.
What is Google Classroom for?
Google Classroom is a digital binder, and is a window into your student’s work. Like the binders students have in their backpack, Google Classroom might have assignments with feedback, resources that support learning, and graded assignments. Note: not all teachers use Google Classroom for their courses, so what you see in Google Classroom will depend on your child’s grade level and the specific courses they are enrolled in.
This grading stuff is so interesting! Where can I learn more?
Further reading, watching, listening:
● Read: “Call to Action for Equitable Grading,” Joe Feldman
● Watch: Cornelius Minor’s Interview on Anti-Racist Grading
○ “A grading policy that is human-centered centers growth over random measures of compliance.”
● Read: Leaders of Their Own Learning, Ron Berger
○ “If we are going to give grades to students — and we should always consider carefully if grades are warranted — we had better be sure that the grading system we use actually promotes understanding and learning, communicates to students and their families exactly where they are in their progress towards concrete goals, and offers useful information about how students can improve.”
● Read: Middle School Academic Policy Guide