Friday, July 13

How Do I Grade Kindergarteners?

I am linking up with Joell at Totally Terrific Teaching to share how I grade students. I am anxious to read about how others do this as well. Be sure to link up with us and share!

In our district we use a standards-based grading system for all elementary grades.  Basically, we are to assess each student's progress toward meeting each specific standard or skill and base their grade on their level of mastery.  The grading scale goes like this:

4 - Working well above grade level expectations (Wow!)
3 - Working at grade level expectations (Got it!)
2 - Making Progress toward meeting grade level expectations (Almost!)
1 - Working well below grade level expectations (Uh-Oh)

We have district designed benchmark rubrics for each trimester that we use to determine student progress.  So, for example, the end of year goal for identifying sight words for kindergarteners is 18 words (a, and, are, for, go, have, he, here, I, is, like, my, play, said, see, she, the, to).  To determine a student's grade for the first progress report, I would assess each kindergartener and then reference the first trimester benchmark rubric (here is a snapshot of one section)...

Based on this rubric, if student A was able to read 6 sight words he would be given a "3".  If student B was able to read 12 sight words he would be given a "4" for the trimester.  And if student C was reading three sight words, I would give him a "2".

Having a very clear rubric really simplifies our grading process and helps to ensure that grades are assigned in an objective manner.  The rubric for the second trimester would then up the expectations and what was a "4" for trimester 1 will then be a "3", what was good enough for a "3" will then be  "2", etc.  This is shown in the next snapshot...

Finally, the third trimester benchmark rubric lists the end of year goal for each state standard as the expectation for a "3". Here is a snapshot of the sight word section of our third trimester rubric...

Just for comparison sake, my son attends school in a different nearby district. They have the same end of year goals, but choose not to set trimester benchmarks.  Instead, a student will be given a "2" on each progress report until he/she achieves the mark of "3".  Therefore my son had mostly grades of  "2" on his first and second trimester progress reports and finally earned his marks of "3" at the end of the year. While this leaves parents wondering how well their child is progressing throughout the year and whether they are on target to meet the must simplify the grading process for teachers.

Now that Washington is part of the CCSS, our district will have to look at the new standards compared to the old and make adjustments to our benchmarks. The CCSS for sight words does not actually assign a number of words that students must learn, so I imagine that the state or the district will determine what is appropriate.  However, that is just a guess.  We are supposed to have some training on the CCSS late this summer, but it will be phased in over a couple of years.  I am curious how it will all look for us when it is fully implemented.

I hope that helps! I look forward to learning how you grade your students!  =)


Joell W. said...


I love how organized this is. I wish my district had benchmarks like that. We have some benchmark tests, but they aren't directly tied to grades.

My team is going to be working on creating something like this next year, but it'll just be for our grade and our school.

Thanks so much for linking up! I love what you had to share.

Totally Terrific Teaching

Brigid said...

You are so organized! Thanks for sharing!

If you have time check out my blog. Hopefully there is a freebie you can download!


Heather Earley said...

Wow! That all totally makes sense...I like how every benchmark is documented. Very concise and easy to visualize for each child. I use our quarterly benchmarks in a similar fashion but it is not a district derivative nor as well organized! Great me another job to do lol!

Greg said...

Our district switched to a new online grading system last year and it's awful. It's a standards based system and we have to give numerical grades to our Kinders. Does that make sense? Not to me. UGH. It is so frustrating. I wish we had a rubric like this. Would you be willing to share this with us? Thanks for the great post!!

Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

Anonymous said...

This is really organized and I really like it. I wish we could grade according to this but when we starting in first grade we go with percentages.

Lori Roberts said...

oops I mean starting in first grade. typo :)