The purpose of grades is to accurately reflect individual student achievement as related to course objectives.
The School Board recognizes that students learn best through a system of clear learning objectives, quality formative assessment, developmental feedback, and the opportunity to respond to that feedback.
Formative Assessment and Feedback
Formative assessment is the process of understanding one’s current performance compared to desired performance and making necessary adjustments to improve the next time. Formative assessment also involves learning from one’s mistakes. A key part of the formative assessment process is non-judgmental developmental feedback.
Communication of Learning Targets
In the English department, learning targets are communicated through:
- Syllabi specific to each English course communicating course objectives
- Unit and lesson objectives stated in conjunction with each unit schedule
- Unit learning objectives reemphasized with study guides given before each unit test and final exam
Communication of Quality Performance
In the English department, quality performance is communicated upon assigning work through:
- Detailed assignment sheets with criteria for all major assignments
- 6-Traits Rubrics with every major essay and fitting rubric for every major speech or presentation (Note: Honors and AP essays may be graded on the Advanced Placement 9 point rubric for assessment in place of the 6-Traits format)
- Exemplar models with major assessments
In the English department, students have the opportunity to improve their performance through formative assessment aligned to learning objectives and timely developmental feedback through:
- Individual, written feedback on rough drafts of essays
- Individual, written scores and comments on 6-Traits Rubrics
- Whole class verbal and written feedback on rough drafts of essays
- Guided peer-editing and assessment
- Individual conferences with teachers
- Individual writing labs
- Written and/or verbal feedback on practice writing assignments
- Written and/or verbal feedback on speech assignments
- Written and/or verbal feedback on reading checks
- Written and/or group verbal feedback on pre-tests
- Verbal feedback in response to student answers to teacher posed questions during group and classroom discussion (e.g. teacher to whole class, group, or individual)
- Verbal feedback on periodic skills assessment (e.g. verbal feedback on construction skills in Stagecraft or progression of grammatical skills in a writing course)
In addition, students receive verbal and/or written feedback in connection with graded work.
Accurately self-assessing one’s work empowers the learner to understand learning goals, monitor progress, and understand the relationship between the effectiveness of one’s effort and one’s improvement.
In the English department, students are expected to self-assess their own work by:
- Comparing and contrasting performance models to one’s own work
- Practice tests and in class corrections
- Goal setting during the writing process via 6-Traits
- Revision done of one’s own volition, without teacher feedback
- Guided self-editing of writing assignments
- Guided self-assessment of performance
- Self reflection on writing from essay to essay within a given course
- Self reflection on literary understanding
Summative Assessment and Grading
The school board recognizes that formal grade reporting is necessary to provide summative information about student performance. Specifically, summative assessment and grade reporting inform students, parents, teaching staff and administration of how well a student meets learning objectives in a course and provides an official record of student performance.
Achievement of course learning objectives are the primary factor in determining grades. Furthermore, the most important skills and content knowledge are given the greatest weight. In the English department, grades are determined by:
- Unit Quizzes
- Unit Tests
- Unit Essays
- Summative reading/writing journals
- Oral Presentations
- Performances – for example: dramatic, musical, kinesthetic, etc.
- Projects- for example: creatively based, research based, discussion based, real world application based
- Periodic summative post-discussion homework
- Periodic summative post-discussion reading quizzes
- Periodic summative post-discussion impromptu writing
- Periodic post-instruction impromptu speeches
- Opinion based analysis and responses; reaction/reflection writing
In the English Department, the entire semester of work counts as 80% of the semester grade and the final exam counts as 20% of the semester grade. Weighting by course is as follows:
· English 1 and 2 Essays - 45%; Tests/Quizzes - 45%; Homework - 10%
· English 1S and 2S Essays - 45%; Tests/Quizzes - 45%; Homework - 10%
· English 3 Performances - 65%; Homework/Tests/Quizzes - 35%
· English 4 and Honors English 3 and 4 Essays - 40%; Tests - 40%; Homework/Quizzes - 20%
· Advanced Composition and Honors Advanced Composition Essays - 65%; Tests - 20%; Homework/Quizzes - 15%
- American Literature Tests - 45%; Essays - 35%; Homework/Quizzes - 20%
- Modern Thought in Literature Tests - 40%; Essays - 30%; Quizzes - 20%; Homework - 10%
- World Literature Tests - 45%; Essays - 35%; Presentations/Quizzes/Homework/Projects/Impromptus - 20%
- British Literature Tests - 45%; Essays - 35%; Quizzes - 20%
- Contemporary Authors Tests - 40%; Essays - 30%; Quizzes - 20%; Homework - 10%
- Journalistic Composition and Literature Essays/Articles/Stories - 70%; Quizzes/Leads - 30%
- Honors AP English and AP English Tests - 40%; Essays - 40%; Homework/Quizzes/Presentations - 20%
- Mass Communication, Acting and Stagecraft Presentations/Performances - 70%; Homework - 30%
Summative Assessment Resubmission
Summative assessments may not be redone.
- The English department finds value in and will assign group projects, writing assessments, and presentations.
- An individual grade will be given to each student who participates in group work based on that student's contribution to the group.
- An essential objective of the school district as a whole is to prepare students for the responsibilities they will have later in their education and life.
- Teachers will establish due dates for all assignments. A due date is the date an assignment is due in order to receive full credit.
- Teachers will also consider the end of a unit as the deadline for assignments associated with the unit (not including essays). The deadline is the date beyond which work will not receive any credit.
- As such, graded work not turned in by the deadline will receive a grade of zero.
- Students have a day after the due date to submit work for each day that they have an excused absence, or work is considered late.
- Late summative homework/smaller assessments will receive up to half off of the original grade if they are turned in during the unit in which they were assigned. The end of unit exam or assessment is considered the deadline for such assignments.
- Late essays will be downgraded 10% for each day they are late, but will receive at least 50% of the assessed grade.
- If a large amount of work is not turned in, instructors have no accurate means to assess a student’s achievement of the course objectives, and no credit will be given for the course.
- Work missed as a result of a truancy will count as late work.
English department final exams will be cumulative, encompass primary learning targets of the course and may include multiple formats (for example, project based courses will have project based finals).
The English Department will follow the WFBHS Academic Dishonesty Policy as described in the student handbook; this policy will apply to all levels of student work - both formative and summative - as academic dishonesty prevents true assessment of student progress toward course objectives.
Consequences for Academic Dishonesty will include the following:
- A zero for the assignment or assessment in question.
- An academic referral.
- In some cases, teachers may require that the student rewrite a plagiarized essay to passing quality, while keeping a zero for the essay grade.
In order to assess the originality of student writing, the English Department expects all students to fully utilize the drafting and revision process; as well, the English Department utilizes resources such as www.turnitin.com to ensure students’ work is assessed for originality.
The English Department considers the following to be examples of cheating:
- Submitting as one’s own, work which has been fully or partially written by classmates, siblings, parents or others.
- Submitting as one’s own, essays or other work which has been purchased or has been authored fully or partially by another.
- Providing others with assessment answers or obtaining assessment answers from others.
- Developing materials for others.
- Using notes or devices to cheat on tests/ quizzes/ assessments.
In addition to the above qualifications, The English Department considers the following examples of plagiarism:
- Failing to properly paraphrase cited material in a final draft.
- Incorrect or inaccurate quotations and/or documentation in a final draft.
- Failing to cite any part of an outside source in a paper submitted for a grade.
Behavior is a critical component to creating a respectful, supportive learning environment, and effort is a critical component in the learning process. In the English department, behavior and effort are reported by the building-wide, quarterly behavior/effort marks.
Alignment to District Policies
This policy is aligned to District Grading Policy (345.1), District Homework Policy (345.3) and Accommodating Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs (323.1).
Behavior that disrupts the teaching and/or learning process for others will be addressed through the school district’s code of classroom conduct (443.7).