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01/14/2015

Dear Students/Parents/Guardians,
With the start of the second semester upon us, the Language Acquisition department
would like to take this opportunity to communicate to all stakeholders some exciting changes
that are happening in our department.
After much discussion, research and support from administration, our department has
made the decision to use standards based grading starting second semester. Standards-based
grading emphasizes the mastery of a standard of performance rather than completion of an
amount of work to receive a grade. This method of teaching and learning allows students to
receive feedback on assignments as we go but not to be graded until the day of the
assessment. This method of teaching and learning also allows students to retake assessments
until they have mastered that knowledge or skill as time allows during the course, without
penalty for mastering it later. The other important component of this standards based
grading will be student self reflection as to what they are doing well and what they could
improve on in order to improve their performance as research shows that when students
reflect on their role as a learner, their learning improves.
As this is a new system for us, we are opening the lines of communication and invite
you to set up appointments with us to discuss this new standards based grading in detail
should you have any questions.
Sincerely,
The Language Acquisition Department
Seora Matelski, Department Head, WIHI Spanish Teacher tmatelski@wihi.org
Seorita Miller, WIMA Spanish Teacher

cmiller7@ycschools.us

Seor Braun, WIHI Spanish Teacher

pbraun@wihi.org

Madame Bogusz, WIHI French Teacher

bbogusz@wihi.org

What this means in the practical sense:


No more ZERO'S
You will no longer see 0's in the grade book on a 100-point scale. This has an unnecessary punitive
effect on students' grades and does not accurately reflect what the student is able to do. A 0 will be
equated to a 50 if a student does not turn in an assignment/assessment or does not meet expectations
for the assignment/assessment.
No more extra credit
There will no longer be extra credit opportunities. Students will however be given the opportunity to
demonstrate growth in any or all of the criteria to receive a higher grade in that category should they
pursue the extra opportunities outside of class with the teacher.
Awarded for your most consistent performance: At the end of the semester, students will be
given a grade based on what their most consistent performance has been all semester, not by
averaging all performances. This will be tracked in the grade-book for parents and students to see.
For example, if a student had a 1 out of 8 on Criterion A (reading) at the beginning of the semester but
then had a 4, 5, 5, & 6, the student would be awarded an overall grade of a 5 in criterion A as that is
the most consistent performance for the student.
Grade book setup
Interpreting the grade book will be incredibly different. The only weighted grades in there will be the
MYP Criterion for reading, listening, speaking & writing and their scores will be from 0-8 (50-100%).
Each category will be weighted at 25%.
0- 50%
5- 85%

1- 65%
6- 90%

2- 70%
7- 95%

3- 75%
8- 100%

4- 80%

There will be non-weighted categories in the grade book as a means to communicate to both parents
and students what is happening in the classroom and to keep track of student progress with
vocabulary and grammar so we know what students need to work on. This also allows us to
individualize the learning more for each student based on his/her needs.
There will also be a FINAL grade for each category that will be updated periodically with the most
consistent performance score.
No more vocab and grammar quizzes
Vocabulary and Grammar quizzes will be given as more of a check-in with student progress and
tracked by the teacher in the grade book, but will not be weighted in the students' grades. They will be
tracked so we know what students can work on in order to improve their overall ability in the language
but they will not affect the grade as we want to reward students for being able to use the grammar and
vocabulary when they acquire it, regardless if that happens at the beginning or end of the semester.
Homework
Homework will still be given and will be a way to encourage deeper learning of the content. These will
be practice activities that will be ungraded but checked in the grade book for accountability as well as
used for in class activities. These could be simple online grammar drills, Quizlet with vocabulary or
taking notes on a grammar concept. Assessments will be done primarily in the classroom thus
reducing the stress outside of the classroom.
Student reflections
Student reflections will take place monthly for both participation (homework completion, in class
participation) as well as performance within the criterion and will be placed in the grade book unweighted as a way to communicate with both parents and students how they can improve in the class.
This is an effort to show students the correlation between work ethic and performance in a nonpunitive way as well as to encourage growth. This approach will also help students in higher
education as often the grade is only based on performance at most higher education institutions.