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Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

Part One - Graded Assessments


1) Five graded assessments(this is not just the score, but student responses and
points earned/deducted - could be screenshots from Canvas)
Paper assignments with comments and grades will be turned in during class.
2) Grading guide/rubric (copied from Summative Assignment)
Answer key:
Multiple Choice:
1. What is a central idea from The Gift of the Magi?
a. Love is selfish
b. True love makes sacrifices
c. Value of possessions
d. If someone does not sacrifice for you, they do not love you
2. According to the text which is the most important?
a. Possessions
b. Family heirlooms
c. Your appearance
d. Love
3. Which line from the text supports the theme of the story?
a. Life is made up of sobs, sniffles and smiles
b. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them.
c. Lets put our Christmas presents away and keep em a while. Theyre too nice to
use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs.
d. Be good to me, for it went for you.
Adapted from: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/releasedforms
(English II EOC Question 9)
4. In the ending, what did the author compare the couple to?
a. The Magi
b. Selfish people
c. Selfless people
d. Romeo and Juliet
5. Put the following statements in chronological order based on the text.
_2__Della sold her hair
_5__Jim gives Della The Combs that she had worshipped
_1__Della sobs about their financial state
_4__After receiving the chain for his watch, Jim recognizes the irony in their situation
_3_Della attends to the mammoth task of fixing her hair
6. The author states that life is made up of sobs, sniffles and smiles. Which one did the
a. author say was predominating?

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

b. Sobs
c. Sniffles
d. Smiles
7. Which word best describes Jim and Della's relationship with each other? (Commercial)
a. Their relationship is selfish.
b. Their relationship is loving.
c. Their relationship is thoughtless.
"The Gift of The Magi" Self-Test. (2007). Retrieved October 12, 2016, from
http://www.phschool.com/webcodes10/index.cfm?wcprefix=epa
8. Why does O. Henry consider the couple foolish as well as wise?
a. They are foolish to love each other.
b. They are foolish to love someone who is so poor.
c. They each make a seemingly foolish sacrifice for a wise reason.
"The Gift of The Magi" Self-Test. (2007). Retrieved October 12, 2016, from
http://www.phschool.com/webcodes10/index.cfm?wcprefix=epa
True/False
1. True or False: Della was not willing to sacrifice a piece of her identity in return for Jims
happiness.
2. True or False: A theme of the story is that you should never make sacrifices for the people you
love.
3. True or False: By selling his watch Jim sacrificed a valuable heirloom for the person he loved.
4. True or False: Throughout the story Della is constantly concerned about their financial state.
5. True or False: Della cut her hair even though she was worried that Jim would no longer think she
was pretty.
6. True or False? Della sells her hair to buy Jim a gift.
Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. (2005). Elements of Literature Annotated Teacher's Edition (3rd ed.).
Austin, TX: A Harcourt Education Company.
7. True or False? Jim sells his watch to buy Della a locket.
Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. (2005). Elements of Literature Annotated Teacher's Edition
(3rd ed.). Austin, TX: A Harcourt Education Company.
Short Answer:
1. How did Jims reaction to Dellas haircut show his love?
He hugs her and tells her that nothing like a haircut, a shave, or a shampoo
could make me like my girl any less. He makes sure that she knows he loves her
no matter what length her hair is.
2. List the three most important events in the story.
1) Della sells her hair
2) Della buys Jim a chain for his watch
3) Jim gives Della the combs for her hair
3. Describe the irony in the ending.
Della and Jim both sacrificed their valuable possessions for each other. Della cut

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

and sold her hair to buy Jim a chain for his watch but Jim sold his watch to buy
Della expensive combs for her hair.
4. What is one Central Idea from the text? Explain why you believe this is a central idea using specific
details from the text.
Both Della and Jim give up their only valuable possessions to buy something nice
for the other.
Della struggles with making the decision to cut her hair which shows that even
when you love someone it is difficult to sacrifice a part of yourself.
5. Explain how the couples socioeconomic status affects the theme of the short story.
Because the couple was poor, they could not afford to buy Christmas presents for
each other without sacrificing one of their own valuable possessions. Had the
couple been richer, they would not have had to sacrifice something in order
to get the other one a present. Had the couple not been poor the reader would
not have seen their unconditional, sacrificial love.
Essay:
1. If Della had had short hair in the beginning of the story, what do you think that she would have
done? Why do you think so?
Answers may vary but this is a possible example:
She may have made a homemade gift that showed her love for Jim. This would
have expressed her love but in a way she could afford.
She could have cooked Jim his favorite dinner and made the night special for Jim
based on his favorite things to do.

3) Grade you assigned each student


Student A - Not Graded. I was unable to read the student's handwriting for the last few
questions. This is further explained in my reflection.
Student B - 17/33
Student C - 20.5/33
Student D - 19/33
Student E - 17.5/33
4) Feedback to students
Feedback is written on the tests.
Part Two - Visual Representation of Data

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Part Three - Reflection

Monica Clemmons

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data Reflection


Monica Clemmons
North Carolina State University

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

Introduction
I gave the five assessments to students in my cooperating teachers yearbook class. I
believe one student had read the story a few years ago, but the rest didnt seem to recall ever
reading it. Obviously, when creating the test, my partner and I created the questions based on the
fact that we would have taught the lesson prior to the test. Because of this, we made a lot of
decisions based on student answers during class. I did my best to be fair in grading the
assessments.
Best Grading Practices and Avoiding Bias
I did quite a few different things when grading these assessments. One practice that I feel
was a good idea to help avoid bias was to grade all of the short answer and essay questions at one
time. I looked at the same short answer question on each test before I moved on. This may have
taken me a little longer than it could have but I feel like it helped me keep my grading standards
at the same level on each test. By grading each short answer question number one at the same
time, I was able to read all of the answers and make sure that I gave or took credit for the same
things on each test. I have graded some things for my cooperating teacher and have seen some of
the things that she has graded and I have noticed that, at some point among the pile of papers,
she must get tired of reading the same wrong answer. This lead to leniency on some papers that
wasnt offered on others. Since I havent actually graded two or three classes worth of papers
this way, Im not sure if it would take too much longer than grading one paper at a time but I feel
like it helped my grading for these five assessments.
Another thing that I did to try and avoid bias was not assign a grade to one of my
students. At first I was nervous about doing that for this assignment but I felt like I could not

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

give it a final grade if I truly wanted to avoid bias. When I got to the short answer section of
student As test, I realized that he has horrifying handwriting. I was able to make out what the
first few answers said but I could not read the last three. He had done fairly well on the answers
that I could read. Because of this, I did not want to mark the final three answers wrong just
because I was unable to read them. I have a feeling that they could be pretty well thought
answers and I wanted to make sure that he had an equal opportunity to do well on the test.
Instead of marking them all wrong, I wrote a note on his paper to see me after class. I would like
for this student to have the opportunity to read his answers to me so that I can give him a proper
grade. I know that as a teacher I will come across many students with terrible handwriting. I feel
like the difference in this situation is that I have not had any time to see student As handwriting
prior to this assessment so I have no clue what to compare it to. If I had this student for even a
few weeks before this exam, I may have had time to get used to his handwriting and understand
what I could not now.
When creating the assessment, my partner and I decided to use our students answers in
class to create the answers. For example, short answer question number two was to list the three
most important events in the story. Normally this could have been an opinionated question.
However, we created this question with the intent that we would have determined these three
things as a class and would have studied them prior to the test. We did the same thing when we
determined a central idea and theme. We wanted our students to be involved in creating the test
even though they may have been unaware of it. Because of this decision, I was a little harsh on
these students who have not had the lesson. In my feedback I wrote that they should think back
to the things that we decided on in class.

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

One last thing that I did when grading this assessment was stray from the answer key.
When grading the assessments, I noticed that my partner and I had changed the questions for
short answer question numbers three and four. Since we altered the questions, we had also
altered the answer key. This was a big mistake on my part. Im still not quite sure how I printed
out a different version of the test but I knew that I could not just make my students retake the test
because of my mistake. Because of this issue, I feel like I was a little lenient when grading short
answer question number three. I still graded short answer question number four closely based on
the answer key because it wasnt affected as much by my mistake. I did not comment on this
mistake on the student's papers because if I address this issue, I would address it in front of the
whole class.
Student Impacts
None of my students did very well on this assessment. I know from outside sources and
from personal experience that grades can affect how students feel about themselves. Alfie Kohn
has some strong opinions on this topic based on research and he isnt the only one. He says that
grading student work diminishes [their] interest in whatever they are learning (Kohn). Most of
his arguments claim that grading students has a negative effect on their learning and their
preference for easy tasks. Lower grades tend to cause more issues with students than higher
grades.
Ultimately I decided that I would allow students to do test corrections for those reasons. I
want to provide them the opportunity to raise their grades but I also had to consider what Rick
Wormeli said in Fair Isnt Always Equal. One of his ten things to avoid when grading was
offering extra credit. He makes the point that extra credit questions do not always show a

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

students knowledge in the subject. However, if they do, then they probably should have been
part of the original test to begin with instead of being offered as extra credit (Wormeli, p.
124-125). Since extra credit was not offered, test corrections will give students the opportunity to
raise their grades and hopefully have a better understanding of the questions.
Student Feedback
I gave each student feedback based on their answers overall. By this I mean that if a
student did well on one question but terrible on another, my feedback reflected that. A couple of
my learning objectives focused on the difference between a central idea and a theme. Because
they had not had this lesson (or may not have paid attention during the lesson when it was
taught) my students struggled with these questions. In these instances, I indicated that their
answer may have been a really good theme of the text but was not a central idea. I wrote that
they should try to think back to the lesson or check their notes to remind themselves of the
differences that we discussed.
I also tried to give positive feedback before I gave too much negative feedback. For
example, if a student wrote an answer that was correct relating to the story or partially correct
based on the question, I commented on that. I tried to tell the students that yes, you are correct,
but this does not answer the question. In other cases, I noted that the student was right but that
they had not answered the question completely. I also tried to give feedback that led the students
in the right direction without giving them answers. I did this because I tried to consider the fact
that I would allow them to do test corrections. An example of this can be seen in my feedback for
student D on the essay question. I felt like she was on the right track so I noted that and then
provided her with ways to expand on her ideas to reach the requirement of the question. I would

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

have the students do test corrections while I was present so that I could be there to help them
expand on these thoughts or answer any questions as they arose.
Next Steps
Based on the final grades of these five students, I would create another small unit on
these learning outcomes. With the exception of individual students on certain learning outcomes,
they all did fairly poorly on the exam. I would look back on the way that I taught my students
and try to determine a different way of providing the information and practice that they need to
master these skills. No student completely mastered any learning outcome so they could all use
more practice on all of them.
However, student C did fairly well on all learning outcomes with the exception of
learning outcome number one. Learning outcome number one was about the central idea. Most
students did struggle with this outcome because of the extremely similar definitions of theme and
central idea. I would re-teach this lesson in a different way to all of my students but I would
make sure that I focus on how student C is doing. I would see if she learns better in certain ways
and try to come up with a lesson plan that would incorporate that learning style for her.
Conclusion
Once I finished grading the assessments, I looked back at my requirements for the short
answer and essay questions. I noticed that most of the points that I took off for those sections
were because my students didnt meet the length requirements. I began to think that I shouldnt
have asked that much out of them until I came to senses. Ninth grade English students should not
have a problem writing two to five full sentence responses. They also should not have a problem
writing three to five paragraph essay responses. I think that the main reason these requirements

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

were not met was because of the fact that these were not real students. However, if my actual
class gave me the same responses I would have to spend a lesson or more (depending on their
improvement) focusing on writing. Overall Im pretty happy with the way the tests turned out
and I feel like I have a better understanding of grading from my own perspective than from the
standards of another teacher.

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

References
Kohn, A. (2011, November). The Case Against Grades. Retrieved November 20, 2016, from
http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/
Wormeli, R. (2006). Fair Isn't Always Equal. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse.

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

Part Four - Parent Letter


To the Parents/Guardians of Paige,
Our class took an assessment on our mini unit on The Gift of the Magi which we have
been working on for over a week. The tests have been returned to the students and we have
discussed the answers in class. Paige should have her test with her tonight when she comes home
but she received 17 out of the total 33 points.
Paige did fairly well on the multiple choice sections of the test. However, she struggled
with the short answer and essay questions. Paige is a bright student and she usually participates
in class and takes notes. She mostly struggled with the difference between the central idea and
the theme. These are very similar so I can understand how she mixed them up. We spent two or
three days going over the difference in class but Paige is not the only student who struggled with
the concept. I will teaching the difference again in a different way to try and help them
understand. The best thing that you can do for her would be to go over her notes with her at
night. Check and see if she has the information written down. That will help us determine if she
truly does not understand the concept of central idea and them. If she does grasp it, then she may
just need some help studying.
Paiges other problem on the test was her writing. The instructions were to write in
complete sentences for the short answer questions. Paige used a couple of fragments in some
answers but mostly she did not expand on her thoughts to fully answer the questions. I will be
teaching a mini lesson fragments in class. If you would like to read any of her writing before she
turns it in, that may help her catch some of her mistakes. I also left comments on her test trying
to provoke some more ideas on her answers. I will be offering test corrections. Paige can come to

Grading and Interpretation of Assessment Data

Monica Clemmons

my classroom during SMART lunch or during my planning period, third period, to complete
these. If neither of these options work for her, I am available to stay after school with her.
I appreciate your concern and your willingness to help improve Paiges grades and
education. If there is anything else that I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.
Thank You,
Monica Clemmons