Feedback Systems

Grade Contracts

Grade Contracts are a strategy I use to assess my students' progress towards mastery of defined sets of content and skill objectives and to provide feedback on their development at the end of each level in my blended learning class. Students review the mastery requirements for each level and decide whether they will pursue an "A," "B," "C," or "D" contract; in so doing, they understand and commit to what they must know and be able to do in order to earn the letter grade of the contracts they have chosen. Grade Contracts eliminate the superficiality of number grades on individual assignments and focus my students' attention on authentic demonstrations of mastery over time. This strategy also empowers my students to challenge themselves and to monitor and take responsibility for their own learning, which is an essential mindset shift in my largely self-paced class.  

Strategy Resources (3)
Teacher In Action
 
 
Rubric
 
 
This Level 2 contract illustrates how each level is set up. The contract gives students four different grade options to choose from; each have varying requirements. The students are given a choice in the optional activities they complete and the contract they choose. If my students master the material in the contract, they receive the grade associated with that contract.
Student Data
 
 
This screenshot shows a filled in grade contract. During a class period as I’m moving through the class, students are using their quest contracts to navigate through the levels. They keep track of battles they’ve completed and show me any of the work they’ve completed. I assess their battles using the scale captain (mastered), mate (almost mastered), and deckhand (not mastered). All students’ battles must be marked off as captain before they can level-up.
Teacher In Action
 
 
Rubric
 
 
This Level 2 contract illustrates how each level is set up. The contract gives students four different grade options to choose from; each have varying requirements. The students are given a choice in the optional activities they complete and the contract they choose. If my students master the material in the contract, they receive the grade associated with that contract.
Student Data
 
 
This screenshot shows a filled in grade contract. During a class period as I’m moving through the class, students are using their quest contracts to navigate through the levels. They keep track of battles they’ve completed and show me any of the work they’ve completed. I assess their battles using the scale captain (mastered), mate (almost mastered), and deckhand (not mastered). All students’ battles must be marked off as captain before they can level-up.
Jessica Anderson
Powell County High School
Deer Lodge, MT


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Long
Subject:
Science
Grade:
Ninth grade
Similar Strategies
Academic Culture
Storyline

The storyline of our academic game gives meaning to the students' presence in the game. It enhances the importance of the curriculum and gives students a goal to work toward. The theme our storyline is based around is a deserted island. In the game, students are elite plane crash survivors (PCSs) who must learn to live on the island after not being rescued. Throughout the levels, students are asked to build fire, build shelter, find food, filter water, and survive unexpected storms. By mastering each level, students complete the tasks and move onto the next scenario in the game. 

 
Assessment & Data
Jessi's Use of Assessments and Data

Assessment and data play a crucial role in a blended teacher’s classroom. Blended learning gives teachers an opportunity to assess consistently throughout a class, in a way that drives instruction, impacts grouping, and assignments. Blended educators need to develop capacity to sift through multiple sources of data and synthesizes quickly into action. Check out how Jessi utilizes Assessment and Data here.

 
Feedback Systems
Rounds

In order to track students' progress, along with goal sheets, I make one sweep of the classroom at the beginning of class to check to make sure students know what they are working during the class period. Sometimes I write it on an online spreadsheet. Other times, I track it using a paper spreadsheet and clipboard to make sure they have started working on what they need to be working on. This gives me a chance to talk to all of my students and help motivate those students who are slowly getting to work. I particularly like rounds because it helps me gauge students' emotions for the day. This gives me an idea of how far I can push them academically during the period. 

 
 
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