Sunday, August 15, 2010

Formative vs. Mastery

In doing some research on grading for mastery, I ran across this quotation from a recent Phi Delta Kappan article titled "Eight Steps to Meaningful Grading" by Heather Deddeh, Erin Main, and Sharon Ratzlaff Fulkerson:
Grades earned in traditional grading systems are usually based on a combination of formative and summative assessments. With standards-based grading, grades are based solely on summative assessments designed to measure content mastery.

So now I've come to a roadblock. I love what I've learned from Grant Wiggins, Alfie Kohn, and Dylan Wiliam about formative assessment, giving students multiple opportunities and venues to practice their learning. However, I also see the value in grading for mastery, that a student's grade should reflect what they've learned, not penalize them for the time it took the student to learn that information. So how do I reconcile what Deddeh, Main, and Fulkerson identify as two opposite ways of grading?

How do I practically set up my gradebook and assignments to reflect what students have learned in my class?
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