Grade Contracts: Grade Contracts

 
 
 
Grade Contracts
Teacher In Action
 
 
Teacher In Action
 
 
 
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
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Instructional Planning
Jessi's Approach to Planning

Planning is an essential part of a blended teacher’s practice. In blended environments, where students can be at different points in a course on various modalities, blended teachers need to be very intentional about how they plan. Check out the video below to see how Jessi plans for instruction in her blended classroom.


 
Academic Culture
Classcraft

Classcraft is team-based, role-play gamification tool that I use for classroom management. It focuses students to self-manage their learning, stay on task, and positively collaborate with their peers. When students are seen positively collaborating, working hard, or helping another student, they earn "experience points" (XP), which allow them to "level-up" and gain "powers" (ability to buy privileges in class). However, if they are distracting other students, not following classroom rules, or negatively impacting the learning of themselves or peers they are deducted health points (HP). If they lose all of their HP, they "fail in battle," which means that a random student-generated consequence is then assigned to the student. The fall in battle causes each student on that individual's team to lose HP and face greater risk of also falling in battle. The sequence continues until either all teammates fall to battle or someone on the team has enough HP to survive. Besides HP, students earn 4 action points (AP) every day. Action points allow students to purchase privileges if they have "learned" a power. The AP allow students to ask the Game Master if a question is correct on a quiz, to automatically advance within a level, or to "teleport" to their locker or the bathroom. AP, HP, and XP can all be impacted by the "Daily Event." The Daily Event is a random event that impacts the game in a positive or negative manner. For instance, the event may give the person with the least experience points 200 XP in the game or it may deduct 15 HP from a random player. We never know what will happen, which is what makes the game so interesting to most students. After using the game for nearly two school years, I have seen my students interacting more positively with one another and accomplishing more in class. It has been an awesome addition to our classroom culture and very easy to implement!

 
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. 

 
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