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 World Language department, learning targets and quality performance are communicated through:
- Clearly articulated course-specific syllabi handed out to students the first days of school and available to parents at “Meet the Teachers”. In all languages at all levels, students work to increase proficiency in five core areas - reading, writing, listening, speaking, and cultural knowledge.
- Unit goals that are clearly stated both verbally and in writing.
- Daily posting of and verbal reference to learning targets.
- Rubrics specific to individual assignments and assessments clearly outlining characteristics of quality work, provided when assignments and assessments are given.
- Instruction. As world language teachers, we are constantly modeling, communicating, and clarifying what we expect from our students. We model correct pronunciation and speech patterns, spelling and writing skills, active listening, and reading strategies. We also intersperse cultural information through authentic materials and teacher explanation. This is vital for putting the languages that we teach in context.
- Review of learning targets before major assessments in the form of study guides and test outlines.
In the World Language department, students have the opportunity to improve their performance through formative assessment and timely developmental feedback through:
- Frequent developmental feedback on daily assignments and in-class work. World Language teachers use verbal and written communication, gestures, facial expressions, and body language to deliver feedback to students.
- In–class activities. We do speaking activities in class that produce immediate verbal feedback directly from the teacher.
- Group and partner activities give students an opportunity to give each other feedback. During these kinds of activities, teachers also give students feedback directly on pronunciation, grammar use, and vocabulary.
- Teacher’s response to student-posed questions on daily homework assignments.
- Written feedback on summative writing and speaking assessments.
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 World Language department, students are expected to accurately self-assess their own work through:
- Daily homework assignments. Students are expected to complete daily work in a thoughtful and honest manner. They are responsible for checking their homework in class and correcting their own mistakes.
- Informal self-assessment. Students are asked to gauge their own learning and comfort with material on an on-going basis. Teachers gather information from the students by asking them directly about their progress. Teachers use this student feedback to determine readiness for summative assessments.
- Formal self-assessment. Students assess the quality of their use of the target language in class, thus making them aware of their strengths and weaknesses. With teacher guidance, this gives students a sense of ownership in their learning.
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 World Language department, grades are determined by:
- All summative assessment is preceded by enough non-graded formative assessment and developmental feedback so that students will be well-positioned to succeed.
- Only critically evaluated assessments will be included in the final grade calculation.
- Grades align to student’s achievement of a set standard and have nothing to do with the performance of other students in the class.
- 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.
- Semester grades are derived from the following types of assessments and corresponding weights:
- Tests and Major Projects (50%)
- Presentations, Essays, Homework, Oral Interviews, Skits, Videos, Quizzes (30%)
- Appropriate Use of Target Language (20%)
Note: These percentages are approximations, depending on the semester.
Small amounts of extra credit are offered to all students occasionally on tests and quizzes for academically relevant work only. Extra credit is never so heavily weighted as to distort the true letter grade earned.
Resubmission of Summative Assessments
Given the ample amount of developmental feedback students receive in advance of summative assessments, students do not have the opportunity to redo them.
Timely performance is part of the grading criteria. Students who turn in work late or who are not ready to give a presentation on the assigned day will lose approximately a letter grade for each day late.
For group projects, students are graded individually. Individual contributions are determined through teacher evaluation, taking into account peer and self assessment.
Final exams are given for each World Language course at the end of each semester. The purpose of these exams is for the students to recall and synthesize previously learned material. Given the nature of language learning, these exams are cumulative.
- Final exams comprehensively cover reading, writing, listening, speaking and culture. They are essential in informing students and teachers alike about progress made.
- The school's policy on exam exemptions applies to all students with the exception of second semester seniors. In the World Language Department, seniors will be allowed to exempt the spring final if they have earned a B or better for second semester, no unexcused absences, and no disciplinary referrals. If a second semester senior violates the Academic Dishonesty Policy, they will lose their exam exemption.
Students in violation of the school’s academic dishonesty policy (see Student Handbook) will face administrative consequences. Please refer to the Student Handbook for a full explanation of the 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 World Language department, behavior and effort are reported by the building-wide, quarterly behavior/effortmarks. Note:
- Successful world language students exhibit the following behaviors:
- Active listening
- Questions seeking clarification
- Seeking help when necessary
- Attending class regularly
- Using the target language as much as possible
- Seeking language experiences outside of class
- Effort is reflected in the quality of homework, quiz and test results, extra help sought, and classroom participation.
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).