When I first started as Curriculum Director at my current district, I was lucky enough to have a small group of teachers interested in standards-based grading. Being a bit of a nut about making sure grades reflect what students actually know (even after fixing any broken learning) rather than how many points they have collected in return for completing tasks, I was excited to help these teachers any way that I could. This meant offering professional development opportunities, being available for questions, and not letting others shut down their SBG efforts.
Now we have an entire building that wants to move towards grading for learning, which is even more exciting. However, getting everyone to want to move in that direction is only the first step–many more conversations have to take place, along with professional development and a lot of room to try things out, refine, and try again. So I’m starting to equip myself for all of that by going back through my tried and true Ken O’Connor and Marzano SBG resources, but also taking a look at some new resources from Myron Dueck as well as Mark Barnes.
I’m not doing this to have all the answers; I’m doing this to be able to ask the right questions when teachers are working out what SBG looks like in their classrooms and in the community. Here’s one thing I’ve learned about implementing something like this that involves a large shift in mindset in a large group of people before it can really come to fruition–it’s better to ask questions to guide teachers and other administrators to decisions that are best for students. Why? Ownership. Teachers and admin have to co-own this process, this thinking, this mindset in order for it to take root and grow.
That’s true for any initiative, really-if the teachers don’t own it, it won’t ever be implemented effectively.