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Grading In A Differentiated Classroom: Book Review

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Students are diverse. They arrive in our classrooms as unique individuals. They come from various cultures, races, religions, and economic backgrounds. They have varying interests, familial situations, life experiences, and motivations to achieve. Recognizing and honoring these differences through “varied approaches to content, process, and product” is the purposeful way a teacher can create a differentiated classroom (Tomlinson, 2001, p. 7). As students interact with content, process it and create products, teachers need to track progress and grade student work. This paper is a review of literature and reflection on grading in a differentiated classroom.
Summaries of Literature
Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessing and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom
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One way Tomlinson (2001) suggests that grading should be changed is by implementing a “new grading system based on individual goal setting and progress in reaching those goals, and that students [should] be ‘graded against themselves’ rather than in competition with other students” (p. 93). Tomlinson (2001) offers several ways the system could be changed but concludes with “any system that encourages personal growth in every student should be the goal and may be achieved, at least in part, in a variety of ways” (p. 94). To follow up, Tomlinson (2001) offers five ways to modify traditional record keeping of grades to match a differentiated classroom: rename the columns in the grade book to be less specific, instruct students to keep their work as a record keeping form, teach students to maintain their own record of their learning, don’t formally grade all work, and use goal setting in student-led conferences to communicate
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