Meaningful Grading Practices for Exceptional and Struggling Learners

  • Posted on: 23 September 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

Do you feel confident about the way you grade students with atypical learning needs? Most teachers have some difficulty devising ways to grade students with educational disabilities, those who are struggling learners, and those who are still learning the English language.  They want grades to be fair and accurate but are not sure just how to do that.

Grading Exceptional and Struggling Learners, by Lee Ann Jung and Thomas Guskey, is a 'quick read' that offers specific guidance to educators who want grades to be both meaningful and encouraging - even for those really 'tough to grade' students. Building off of their substantial work on standards-based grading, the authors outline practices that allow teachers to use grades to communicate the performance of students in relation to three types of goals: product, process and progress. Multiple examples, using students with different types of learning characteristics and needs, are cited. 

If you are already familiar with standards-based grading, this book may be a little redundant for you.  However, its' review of basic concepts and readability make it an excellent choice for a group or whole staff to read and discuss collaboratively.

One word of caution: If you are looking for tips on grading exceptional or struggling learners outside the context of standards-based grading, this is not the book for you. The practices (reforms, actually) described in this book must be implemented as part of a systemic transition to standards-based grading practices.