Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.34.04 PMIn every language class that I ever took, grades were broken down by assignment type: quizzes, tests, homework, classwork, participation, projects, etc. For this reason, I structured my gradebook similarly when teaching at Syracuse University and in my first year as a public school teacher. When I began meeting with Michele Whaley‘s First Fridays group here in Anchorage and learning about Standards Based Assessment, my gradebook underwent a radical shift. Thanks to Scott Benedict, and Betsy Paskvan who introduced me to his materials, my gradebook now looks like this:

Reading – 30% – How well do I understand written Spanish?

Listening – 30% – How well do I understand spoken Spanish?

Writing – 20% – How fluently and accurately can I write in Spanish?

Speaking – 15% – How fluently and accurately can I speak in Spanish?

Work Habits – 5% – How much effort do I put forth in class?

If you would like a more detailed explanation of why I made this shift and how it has positively affected my students, please see this post on Standards Based Assessment.


  1. My team is working on changing from categories like “homework”, “quizzes”, etc. to skill categories as you do. However, I am concerned about the receptive skills carrying too much weight in the grade. It’s not that they aren’t important–at the lower levels, I think they are the most important skills. It’s just that I generally don’t grade them except on end of unit tests. As a result, I’m curious what you do for reading and listening that results in them being weighted at 50% of the students’ overall grade.

    PD–LoVe the blog!


  2. […] Summative assessments don’t have to be big, scary exams either. In fact, some of my favorite summative assessments are extremely short. When you create a summative assessment, it is not necessary that it require students to demonstrate everything that they know and can do; rather, it should require students to demonstrate what they know and can do with regard to a specific skill (reading, writing, speaking, listening–if your gradebook is set up like mine).  […]


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