Monday, April 16, 2012

Management & Mentoring Monday - Assessing Student Work

Having just temporarily recovered from working on report cards, I thought I'd share a little about a technique I use for grading student work.

Rather than standard letter or number grades, we grade our students on a scale of 1-4. We have specific rubrics for our standards, but they're generally designed like this:

  • A "one" means that even with additional support and scaffolds, the student is not yet successful with the task.
  • A "two" means that the student can do the task with support.
  • A "three" means the student can complete the task accurately, consistently, and independently.
  • A "four" means the student shows a level of understanding that exceeds expectations for fourth grade.
The goal for most students is to get a three.

At the beginning of the year, I introduce this using the terms "novice," "apprentice," "practitioner," and "expert."

(Forgive the faded, gross-looking green marker. I'll be making cuter posters next year...)

We use this poster to talk about the meaning of each term, and I'll regularly have students hold up 1-4 fingers to self-assess at the end of a lesson. It's a good way for me to monitor who is ready to get started working independently and who will need a little more help. 

When it's time for me to grade student work, I can use my district's 1-4 scale, and it lines up fairly well with this self-assessment scale. Usually I can quickly spot-check and tell who is a 1 and a 4 on an assignment; it's just the 2's vs. 3's that take a little longer to decide sometimes. 

Update: Stephanie over at 3rd Grade Thoughts has made posters using this language. Head over to her blog to get her freebie!

What do you use for self-assessing in your classroom? Feel free to share in the comments section below!


  1. I really like this. The kids can self reflect AND it is quiet :) I also like how instant the reflection is. Thanks for sharing!

    Teaching in Room 6

  2. I really like the titles you have given to each level! I use the assessment wording that Everyday Math provides and it's similar, but I think I'm going to start using apprentice, practitioner and expert thanks to your great chart! Thanks so much :) :)

    I found you through Pinterest and I'm so glad I did ~ I am your newest follower.

    3rd Grade Thoughts

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