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A Repair Kit for Grading: Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades with DVD (2nd Edition) Paperback – Nov 19 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 2 edition (Nov. 19 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132488639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132488631
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #82,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Ken O'Connor

A Repair Kit for Grading: Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades, 2/e

 

 

Communicating about student achievement requires accurate, consistent and meaningful grades.

 

Educators interested in examining and improving grading practices should ask the following questions:

 

• Am I confident that students in my classroom receive consistent, accurate and meaningful grades that support learning? 

• Am I confident that the grades I assign students accurately reflect my school or district’s published performance standards and desired learning outcomes?

 

In many schools, the answers to these questions often range from "not very" to "not at all." When that’s the case, grades are "broken" and teachers and schools need a "repair kit" to fix them. A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades, 2/e gives teachers and administrators 15 ways to make the necessary repairs.

 

The "fixes" are in four categories that reflect common grading challenges: distorted achievement, low-quality or poorly organized evidence, inappropriate grade calculation and linking grades more closely to student learning. Student achievement isn’t only about "doing the work" or accumulating points. But, when students receive points for merely turning in work on time, or when teachers put a mark on everything students do and simply count them up to determine a grade, the message is clear: success is determined by the quantity of points earned, not the quality of the learning taking place. In fact, messages about learning quality get lost.  Grades are artifacts of learning, and students need to receive grades that reflect what they’ve actually learned. That’s why this book advocates the implementation of grading systems based strictly on student achievement – and shows educators how to create them.

 

 

 

Ken O’Connor is a former Curriculum Coordinator with the Scarborough Board of Education in Ontario, Canada. He is an expert on grading and reporting with a particular emphasis on using these techniques to improve student achievement through student involvement. With over twenty years of teaching experience in secondary schools in Australia and Ontario, he has presented hundreds of workshops for teachers at every grade level, and is the author of the very successful How to Grade for Learning.

About the Author

Ken O’Connor is a former Curriculum Coordinator with the Scarborough Board of Education in Ontario, Canada. He is an expert on grading and reporting with a particular emphasis on using these techniques to improve student achievement through student involvement. With over twenty years of teaching experience in secondary schools in Australia and Ontario, he has presented hundreds of workshops for teachers at every grade level, and is the author of the very successful How to Grade for Learning.


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Format: Paperback
A Repair Kit for Grading (Second Edition)
by Ken O'Connor 2010

The second edition of this book is approximately 38 pages longer than the first edition in 2007. O'Connor has included additional material at the end of each chapter under the headings of "Teacher Vignette" and "Policy Example" as well as a discussion guide at the end. Altogether he has introduced about three more pages of research findings made since the publication of the first edition. O'Connor has also modified several of the figures (ex: Figures 3.2, 3.5 and 3.6 in the second edition) without explaining the changes. He has rewritten three pages from the first edition.

The author makes the curious claim in both editions that "the mathematical problem with zeros is that they represent very extreme scores and their effect on the grade is always exaggerated (p. 96, p. 86)". Well, arithmetic means (averages) are calculated by adding all the numbers in the data range and dividing the sum by the number of data points in the data range; if the range has a zero then it must be included. There is no mathematical problem. O'Connor is more accurate when he claims that "the most important issue is that zeros in the record render grades ineffective as communication because the resulting grade is an inaccurate representation of the student's achievement (p. 96)"; it is a communication problem, not a mathematical problem. This is an example of a polemic going too far against the current use of percentages and other outdated means of communicating student achievement.

O'Connor does make a stab at challenging the use of percentages. Plunked near the bottom of page 72 we find, "This means that to be consistent with a standards-based system the use of the percentage system should be eliminated".
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Format: Paperback
Almost every fix in this book deters the relationship between a student and a teacher. In my opinion the fixes could work in theory. However with online classes becoming more and more lucrative for school districts and universities, this book merely strives to match the justification used to give accreditation to online courses. Teachers are costly. Health insurance, salaries, classroom maintenance, building maintenance, etc. Imagine how much money school districts could save if they eradicated 50% of their faculty and staff and replaced it with computers and a few technicians.
Many of these fixes :
Fix 1: Don’t include student behaviors (effort, participation, adherence to class rules, etc.) in grades; include only achievement.
Really are you telling me if a teacher comes to school dressed like a prostitue every day and is the best teacher in her area, that teacher will keep her job because she is activating her freedom of expression.

Behavior is never an issue in online courses.

Fix 2: Don’t reduce marks on “work” submitted late; provide support for the learner.

So if one decides to show up to work late everyday, will they be allowed to keep their job?

Online classes offer a formula as to how late and what percentage you will lose for tardiness.

Fix 4: Don’t punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement.

If Jason Mraz uses 2 lyrics that even appear similar to lyrics in John Legend's song , will he not sue or be fined?

Citing is mandatory in online courses or you will be fined even as a student.

Fix 5: Don’t consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 18 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good starting point for developing standards-based grading systems. May 30 2010
By Space Monkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of this book says it all--it is a repair kit for fixing the "broken" grading system we currently have. This book is full of ideas that challenge the traditional way we grade, but these challenges make total sense in light of what we now know about quality assessments and student learning. O'Connor basically sums up what he states in his book How to Grade for Learning, K-12, and his work is based on and references the work of others who have tackled the grading dilemma, such as Stiggins, Marzano, and Wormeli. The main point of this book is that grades should be a vehicle for communicating student learning, period, and that grades and scores should be reported according to standards, and not include anything that doesn't pertain to student learning (such as participation, effort, etc.). All that should be included in these grades are the summative assessments, and that any formative or diagnostic assessments should not be included. Some points I found especially intriguing were: that you should always take the most recent evidence of learning; not to include absences in a student's score; and that group grades do not accurately reflect student achievement and should not be given. Also interesting is the point he makes about not including zeroes in student grades (he says you should give an "I" for "Insufficient Evidence").

If you are an educator that has been questioning traditional grading practices, this book is a good starting point. My colleagues and I (who teach high school students) have slowly been having misgivings about how we grade and what our grades mean the more and more we implement common formative assessments in our classroom. This book addressed all of our questions, and helped lead us in the right direction for our students.

This book seriously challenges grading practices and principles that have been established as the norm for over 100 years, and, in my opinion, this book is a breath of fresh air. It is a book that breaks out the points quickly and simply, and you can start applying these grading principles in your classroom right away. It's a quick read (I read it in one afternoon), and it is useful and practical. However, if you're looking for some specific suggestions about implementation of these fixes, you need to read O'Connor's "How to Grade for Learning." This small book is meant to be a companion to his first, more comprehensive book. Read both; you won't be disappointed. I would also recommend Fair Isn't Always Equal for more ideas concerning standards-based grading in the differentiated classroom.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical, quick and easy to read - made me think about my grading practices Nov. 6 2009
By J. Carangal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My school and school system are reading this book to review the grading philosophy and procedures for our schools. It was a very quick and easy book to read and each of the "15 fixes" certainly made me think about my grading procedures. The over-arching theme of the book is that report card grades should reflect student understanding of the material, not compliance, behavior, work ethic, or growth. The author argues against things like extra credit, group grades for cooperative projects, and giving zeroes for missing work. I implemented several of the author's ideas into my grading procedures for this school year (after we discussed them at in-services). I have limited my "range of F" to 9 points 50 - 59 (just as the other letter grades include about 9 points). I am working to eliminate formative assessment scores from overall grades and organizing my grades by standards/objectives.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Repair Kit for Grading Is Available July 11 2008
By Hugh O'Donnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Get this book, but don't pay absurd prices! You can get it in trade paperback direct from the publisher, Educational Testing Service/Assessment Training Institute:

[...]

Hillsboro School District 1J will be providing this book, along with a half-day seminar, to all new teachers in our 20,000+ student district, for the next two or three years.

For teachers and administrators (parents too), I strongly recommend this fast and easy read that will introduce you to standards-based grading, the missing link between classroom assessment and student achievement.

Hugh O'Donnell, Director
Hillsboro School District 1J Board of Directors
Hillsboro, Oregon
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Shift in Thinking about Grading May 12 2013
By Christopher H. Titus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offers some insightful reasoning about the irrational way teachers have traditionally assigned a letter grade and the end of a course. It would take some real effort to convince a school or district to adopt most of the ideas expressed in this book, but the effort would be well worth it. Grades should reflect what students know about a subject, end of story. Whether you agree with this statement now or not, you will at the very least be forced to re-evaluate your position after reading this book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Assessments in Wonderland May 6 2011
By Dr. John Merks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A Repair Kit for Grading (Second Edition)
by Ken O'Connor 2010

The second edition of this book is approximately 38 pages longer than the first edition in 2007. O'Connor has included additional material at the end of each chapter under the headings of "Teacher Vignette" and "Policy Example" as well as a discussion guide at the end. Altogether he has introduced about three more pages of research findings made since the publication of the first edition. O'Connor has also modified several of the figures (ex: Figures 3.2, 3.5 and 3.6 in the second edition) without explaining the changes. He has rewritten three pages from the first edition.

The author makes the curious claim in both editions that "the mathematical problem with zeros is that they represent very extreme scores and their effect on the grade is always exaggerated (p. 96, p. 86)". Well, arithmetic means (averages) are calculated by adding all the numbers in the data range and dividing the sum by the number of data points in the data range; if the range has a zero then it must be included. There is no mathematical problem. O'Connor is more accurate when he claims that "the most important issue is that zeros in the record render grades ineffective as communication because the resulting grade is an inaccurate representation of the student's achievement (p. 96)"; it is a communication problem, not a mathematical problem. This is an example of a polemic going too far against the current use of percentages and other outdated means of communicating student achievement.

O'Connor does make a stab at challenging the use of percentages. Plunked near the bottom of page 72 we find, "This means that to be consistent with a standards-based system the use of the percentage system should be eliminated". This statement is not found in the first edition (compared with page 67 of the first edition) and it begs the question why O'Connor continues to discuss percentages, averages, etc. in his book. This author and others would do well to remember that many teachers work with percentages and even zeros because the employer requires a number grade on the report card at least quarterly. Students are to be shuffled through the school system and graduated on time and under budget. To accomplish this, percentages must be used.

In his new material O'Connor divines the next generation of assessments: "moderated scoring process". He cites the work of Linda Darling-Hammond who is an exponent of the moderated scoring process (p. 68). It is a process by which teams "address performance standards together". Such an assessment system will not be adopted in many districts which require teachers to submit numbered grades on report cards on a regular basis. However, many school jurisdictions talk about such a process, but O'Connor points out it would take a lot of time and money.

Dr. John Merks
Teacher
Riverview High School
Riverview
New Brunswick
Canada

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