Sometimes kids act like getting a A+ is like hitting the jackpot, and I would think, Wow It’s great to see them light up and get so excited! They are so proud of themselves, and so happy with their accomplishments. Usually it was the same kids over and over. Then there were the other ones who never received As. I could see in their faces that they stopped getting excited a while ago. What’s the problem with this picture?
Some kids might attribute it to “being smart” or say that “school is just easy for me.” Other kids would say that they were dumb, or that I didn’t like them as much. Getting an A was “lucky” and some kids were just never that lucky. I wanted to communicate to them that getting an A has nothing to do with luck – it has to do with CHOICES.
“I choose to…
…pay attention in class.”
…use my time productively.”
…ask questions when I don’t understand.”
…learn from other students who do get it.”
…ask myself questions about what I understand.”
…complete practice assignments like homework, before the test date!”
…be aware of my strengths and weaknesses so I know when I need help and when I don’t.”
…persevere when something feels tough or takes a long time.”
Notice, none of these statements have anything to do with intelligence! Of course it can be a factor, but most of the time these choices have become habits of good students; and unfortunately aren’t practiced by their lower-performing peers.
Marzano & Haystead’s research shows that students perform up to 34 percentiles more when they have clear and specific goals and track their progress in some progressive way.
I noticed a difference in my student’s attitudes as well as performance when we began using specific learning goals with scales and tracking their progress in student portfolios. The kids got to SEE their progress, specific examples of the content they were expected to master, and how each level in a scale related to their grades. My district had assigned a specific grading percentages to each scale so that grading became really quick and easy as well! Read more about Grading Scales here.
If you click on my FREEBIES tab, you’ll find FREE copies of the Student Portfolio pages, and some Posters and Assessment samples with scales as well. These free materials are a great way to get ideas and get scales going in your classroom!