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 Social Studies department, learning targets and quality performance are communicated through:
- Broad objectives for each course outlined in the course syllabus.
- An articulation of the desired enduring understandings for each unit provided in a content specific guide for each unit being studied or an overview of the facts, concepts, and generalizations that the student is expected to know.
- Individual lesson learning objectives communicated to students on a daily basis.
- Developmental feedback provided during a unit regarding both individual student and class attainment of learning objectives.
- Examples, teacher modeling (and/or other methods as appropriate) which clarify the learning targets for individual lessons.
- Rubrics (including the department writing and participation rubrics, AP specific rubrics, project-specific rubrics, and document analysis rubrics) which are distributed before an assessment and are used by the teacher and the students to clarify questions as work on the assessment progresses.
- Modeling of critical questioning skills by instructors.
- Exemplars that meet the expectations and requirements of assigned work.
- Checklists of content, main ideas, or essential components which are distributed before an assessment.
- Review materials utilized prior to summative assessments.
In the Social Studies department, students have the opportunity to improve their performance through formative assessment and timely developmental feedback through:
- Specific suggestions for improved performance and reinforcement of performance strengths are written on formative assessments.
- Notes or comments particular to a given assessment are written on the assessment.
- Oral comments will be made to students both individually and as a group to better align their current practices with the stated course and unit learning targets.
- Addressing strengths and weaknesses of student responses.
- Individual student/teacher meetings during ISHP allowing clear and specific guidance to students struggling to meet learning targets.
- For many projects the teacher schedules meetings with student groups to assess current progress and address difficulties.
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 Social Studies department, students are expected to accurately self-assess their own work by:
Criteria Sheets and Exemplars
- Students are guided through discussion to compare their work to exemplars and acknowledge and address discrepancies in their own work.
- Students are encouraged to use criteria sheets to verify that their work meets the objectives and requirements of the assessment.
- Students write journal entries to reflect on course content or skills and proceed to discuss their reactions or receive feedback from the instructor.
- Students are then given the opportunity to revisit their comprehension and consideration of the content or skills to make additions, corrections, or adaptations.
Students are given rubrics detailing the quality of their performance on various aspects of the assessment. Students, on occasion, will be instructed to use the rubric to evaluate their performance on these particular assessments.
Small and Large Group Discussions
- Students engage in small and large group discussions to clarify course content and practice skills and are then given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the learning objectives.
- Students will ponder answers to teacher-posed rhetorical questions in the discussions to arrive at a deeper understanding of concepts.
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 grade level or course and provides an official record of student performance.
Achievement of course learning objectives is the primary factor in determining grades. Furthermore, the most important skills and content knowledge are given the greatest weight. In the Social Studies department, grades are determined by:
- Grades are determined by the extent to which students reach fixed standards of achievement corresponding to set learning objectives.
- Grades are determined by critical evaluation of formative and summative assessments. There are no “completion” grades.
- Students may be graded on class participation using the department participation rubric which outlines students progress toward class learning objectives.
All courses use a system in which the entire semester of work counts as 80% of the semester grade, while the final exam counts as 20% of the semester grade. Grades are determined by the following approximate weights:
World History, U.S. History 1, U. S. History 2-3, American Government, Economics
55% Tests/Quizzes, 35% Assignments/Projects, 10% Participation
80% Tests, 15% Assignments/Projects, 5% Participation
90% tests, 10% Assignments/Projects/Participation
85% tests, 10% Assignments/Projects, 5% Participation
AP U.S. History
85% Tests, 15% Assignments/Participation
Note: Teachers of Advanced Placement courses may use other scales to better represent the scope and assessments associated with their particular AP course. This information will be in AP course syllabi.
Extra credit is not offered in any Social Studies courses.
Redoing Summative Assessments
Students may not redo summative assessments.
- Daily work must be turned in on the day it is due or it will be considered late. In the case of an excused absence, students will have one day for each day they were absent to complete daily work without penalty. Late daily work will be graded as usual out of a maximum score of 50%. For example, a perfect assignment handed in on time would receive 100% of the points available, but a perfect assignment turned in late would receive 50%. Daily work turned in after the unit test on the material covered by the assignment will be recorded as a zero.
- Major assignments must be turned in on the day they are due or they will be considered late. In the case of an excused absence, students will have one day for each day they were absent to complete major assignments without penalty. Late major assignments will be graded as usual, but the maximum score available will be reduced by 10% for each day they are late, including weekends and holidays, though the maximum available score will not drop below 50%. For example, a perfect assignment handed in on time would receive 100% of the points available, turned in two days late would receive 80%, and turned in five or more days late would receive 50%. Major assignments turned in after the last day of the quarter in which they were due will be recorded as a zero.
- Tests or quizzes that are not made up before the end of the quarter in which they were scheduled will be given a zero and averaged into the grade as a zero.
- Assignments that are never turned in will be recorded as a zero.
Group projects are used in many courses and will factor into a student’s grade. Steps are taken to ensure that groups are functioning well and that individual efforts are recognized and substantially impact a student’s individual grade for a group project.
Final exams are summative assessments in which students demonstrate their mastery of course content knowledge and skills. These assessments are designed to reflect course objectives and standards. Students enrolled in AP courses take the respective AP exams.
The WFBHS Academic Dishonesty policy applies to all Social Studies work that factors into students' grades, and resources such as Turnitin.com may be utilized to help enforce the policy. In addition, instances of academic dishonesty will result in a grade of zero for the work in question. It is every student's responsibility to read and abide by the school policy.
Behavior is a critical component to creating a respectful, supportive learning environment, and effort is a critical component in the learning process. In the Social Studies department, behavior and effort are reported by the building-wide, quarterly behavior/effortmarks. Note:
- Much of the material that students are expected to learn is developed, discussed and reinforced through classroom activities. Therefore, students are expected to attend class regularly and to talk to the teacher when an absence occurs to get the necessary reinforcement for the missed material.
- Students should be attentive and on task during class time.
- Students should turn in high quality work by assigned due dates.
- On the basis of self assessment and developmental feedback from the instructor, students should address objectives not being met and seek assistance from instructors in class and during ISHP. Students should be proactive in taking ownership of their learning.
- Students should begin their efforts toward unit objectives from the onset of instruction, not put off efforts until the summative assessment approaches. Full student engagement throughout the course leads to a more thorough attainment of objectives.
- Behavior that impedes an individual student’s achievement and/or disturbs the learning environment for other students will not be tolerated and will be dealt with by the classroom teacher as per school policy. Extreme or chronic misbehavior will be referred to the attendance office.
- Students will be informed of course specific behavior and effort expectations through the individual course syllabi.
- Behavior and effort concerns or problems will be communicated to parents when necessary.
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).