Book Review: Rethinking Grading

Why I Picked up the Book
How do you grade? What is the purpose of grades? And what do grades actually mean? These are questions that plague me as I stare at stacks of work to grade and wonder if the grades I give truly serve me students the way I want them to. I've already read on the subject but still had more questions so I decided to focus my next reading on a book about Standards-Based Grading. 

The Review
Rethinking Assessment by Cathy Vatterott clearly explains what standards based grading is, how it can help our students and change our classrooms, and how to practically implement both on the classroom level and school wide. Throughout this book, she raised the exact questions I have been facing in my classroom and made clear and solid arguments for how adopting a Standards Based Grading practice could address those issues. 

The most compelling case made in this book is that we need to move away from compliance only classrooms. That by teaching compliance over valuing learning we do a disservice to our students and we create a culture of academic dishonesty as students only focus on getting the work done, not the learning.

The paradigm shift is a shift from a compliance culture driven by teacher power—where grades rewarded compliance and punished noncompliance—to a performance culture driven by student empowerment and mastery of learning. - Cathy Vatterott

She isn't the first author to make this case and she wont be the last but she does an excellent job explaining the practice and it's benefits and gives real classroom examples (from various grade levels and subjects). I am a few steps closer to determining where I want to go next with grading in my classroom thanks to this book.

Do you practice Standards Based Grading? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

- Mrs. Byars 


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