Posts by Tom Schimmer


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Do Your Grading Rules Frustrate Achievement?

One of my favorite books is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. For those who haven’t read it, Gladwell writes of the untold stories of success. Rather than telling the stereotypical story of super intelligence or unabashed ambition, Gladwell argues that the true story of success can found by spending more time looking around those who have succeeded; their family circumstances, where they were born, and even their birth date.   Read more


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Most Recent? Most Frequent? Most Accurate?

One of the fundamental tenets of standards-based grading is that greater (if not exclusive) emphasis is placed on the more recent evidence of learning. For years now, the consensus among both experts and practitioners is that the combination of old and new evidence (most often via calculating a mean average) distorts the accuracy of reported achievement levels (O’Connor, 2011; Guskey, 2015; Reeves, 2015). As students move through their natural learning trajectories, they should be given full credit for their learning, regardless of how low or slow the start. Read more


Self-Assessment: Yes, but…

While student self-assessment is not a brand new concept, it has emerged as an essential aspect of effective formative assessment strategies and processes. There is general consensus that self-assessment is positive and has many benefits for students, but it is seldom implemented in many classrooms (Brown & Harris, 2013). Read more


They Only Have to THINK They’re Right

Belief is powerful. When we truly believe something, we don’t just think it – we feel it. When you believe, you know like you know like you know – it’s unmistakable. Our belief about anything is usually what sets the wheels of success or failure in motion. Read more


Five Questions About Feedback

Assessment for the sake of doing assessment is an incomplete (even misguided) instructional goal. For assessment to fulfill its role as an integral part of the instructional process, teachers must use assessment results with clarity and purpose. Read more


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Zero Influence – Zero Gained!

Zeros don’t work; never have, never will!  While a good number of schools/districts have already addressed this issue through a shift in policies and practices, the knowing-doing gap is still alive and well. No topic exemplifies the emotional nature of grading discussions quite like a discussion about using zeros. Read more