Leading in the Google Classroom Era

Grading and Assesment Practices

Jeffrey EricksonJeffrey Erickson
Minnetonka High School
Minnetonka, MN
Grades 9–12
2,840 students

“Five years ago, we changed our grading and assessment practices at Minnetonka High School with the focus of improving accuracy. We determined that a number of factors once included in the grade, such as attendance, academic dishonesty, and behavioral components, were distorting it. In the end, we had two essential questions to answer: what goes into a grade and how do we report it out?

“In answering these questions, we developed our core principle that grades should reflect and communicate academic achievement based on high-quality assessments. This simple sentence moved our focus from an accumulation of points to a focus on learning. We eliminated many toxic practices that took away hope from students and reworked our processes for:

  • How we handle operational issues (such as late or missing work)
  • Providing students multiple opportunities to show success
  • Formative assessments
  • Maintaining a constant focus on learning

“We now have more confidence that our grades are an accurate representation of the student’s efforts, and that the system provides all students an on-going hope for success. The data is clear: our top 400 students are now performing where our top 200 students were five year ago, and we’ve reduced failure by 60 percent and ‘D’ grades by 38 percent. It has changed our culture!”