Plano Academy High School Grading Vision
Plano ISD Academy High School was founded on the principles of Project Based Learning, STEAM, Collaboration, and multi-disciplinary learning. Authentic learning experiences are at the core of Academy High School. Authentic learning is a cycle of creating need to learns, exploring information related to the questions, and demonstrating learning via facilitator-created and learner-created experiences. Each experience is designed with a learning goal or outcome. Facilitators use essential knowledge and skills as a foundation for learner demonstration of learning based on prioritized themes within the content standards. Learning is a process, rather than a destination and therefore learners are offered opportunity to “learn forward” as they experience key concepts within a discipline throughout a semester and throughout a year.
Learners are expected to honor due dates and expected outcomes shared by a facilitator. Facilitators work to intentionally weave themes and concepts within and between projects during a semester and a year so the learner has multiple opportunities to demonstrate growth in learning around a critical concept in each content area.
At the end of a semester, grades are reported holistically and in letter form rather than numeric form. Grades available are A, B, C, F. Each grade determination is founded in the cognitive level of the learning demonstration. Facilitators provide scales for learners to use as a guide for expected outcomes. Learners are expected to take feedback from an assignment or experience and apply it forward to new assignments as they demonstrate learning within a theme or concept during a semester/year. Learners will not necessarily “redo” an assignment to “get a higher grade” because growth in learning is the focus of Academy High School rather than focus on completion of a specific assignment.
Semester grades are not an average of numerical assignment outcomes, rather a demonstration of a semester of learning. Learning progress takes place throughout the semester and it is the complete learning demonstration which is the foundation for the semester grade. Learning progress can be seen based on assignments in Empower and also based on the 9 week progress report sent home with the learner.
Ideally at Academy High School all feedback will be provided within the language of a scale. Learners will be given clear outcomes for academic performance at the beginning of an academic experience and will be given multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning around a concept. A semester grade for a learner is a demonstration of multiple data points of learning, and growth in that learning, over time. It is accurate based on learning, rather than other factors, and is understood by the learner as a demonstration of their growth over time.
Standards -based Grading and Research
Guskey, T. R., & Bailey, J. M. (2010). Developing Standards-Based Report Cards. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Heflebower, T., Hoegh, J. K., & Warrick, P. (2014). A School Leader's Guide to Standards-Based Grading. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research.
Vatterott, C. (2015). Rethinking Grading. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Mastery-based Report Cards and Grading Practices: Hanover Research