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Engaging Parents and Families in Grading Reforms

Engaging Parents and Families in Grading Reforms

February 2024 | 120 pages | Corwin

Improve grading practices with support from families

Educators seeking to transform age-old grading practices face numerous challenges, particularly when it comes to gaining support from students’ families. This practical guide from a world-renowned expert on grading and assessment practices offers concrete strategies to turn parents and families into trusted partners in grading reform efforts. The book enables educators to anticipate, understand, and effectively address families' concerns over grading reforms and build trust through authentic engagement.

With clear and actionable strategies that educators can implement right away, the easily digestible chapters unpack the complexities of the change process, clarify the purpose of grading, and show how to enhance the use of computerized grading programs. Other features include:

  • Strategies to ease opposition to grading reform from parents and families
  • Insights into how to improve report cards
  • Guidance on how to effectively communicate student performance with parents and families

A must-have resource for educators navigating the challenging journey of grading reform, Engaging Parents and Families in Grading Reform is a comprehensive guide to grading reform that emphasizes family engagement to ensure success.

Chapter 1: Parents’ and Families’ Perspectives on Grading and Reporting Reforms
Chapter 2: Understand the Change Process
Chapter 3: Clarify the Purpose of Grading
Chapter 4: Distinguish the Three Components of Computerized Grading Programs
Chapter 5: Keep the Report Card Simple and Family Friendly
Chapter 6: Consider How Parents and Families Interpret Labels
Chapter 7: Replace Old Traditions with New and Better Traditions
Chapter 8: Focus on a Reporting System

"When I read Engaging Parents and Families in Grading Reforms, my first thought was 'Why did I not read this sooner?' Having both led (or attempted to lead) grading reform in schools and studied the change experiences of school stakeholders, I am thrilled to finally find this straightforward, practical, and relevant guide that informs crucial shifts to the way leaders approach the change process with families. Without question, Guskey's newest book should be required reading for educators who have ever endeavored to lead meaningful change in grading practices for an entire community."

Dr. Lindsay Prendergast, School Improvement Coach

"Dr. Thomas Guskey has done it again! Engaging Parents and Families in Grading Reforms is a must-read for educators seeking to transform their grading systems in a successful way. Drawing from a myriad of practical insights and real-world examples, Dr. Guskey offers real and actionable strategies that empower educators to navigate the complexities of grading reform successfully. It underscores the vital role of involving parents and families in the process, making it an imperative resource for anyone committed to improving education."

Garth Larson, Ed.D., Co-Founder and CEO
FIRST Educational Resources

"Dr. Guskey’s book is a vital guide for educators seeking to navigate the intricate landscape of grading reform with precision and empathy. It provides actionable strategies that are both clear and effective, addressing the pressing need to align grading practices with evolving educational approaches. By fostering an understanding of the change process and emphasizing the importance of engaging parents and families, this book is an indispensable resource for achieving meaningful grading reform and ensuring success for all stakeholders."

Catarina Song Chen, International Head of School
American School of Belo Horizonte

"Dr. Thomas Guskey has been an instrumental partner in the reform of the Bethlehem Area School District's assessment and grading system. We have moved away from our traditional middle school and high school report cards, and now report letter grades and academic support factors separately, a change that required the participation and support from many stakeholders: students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Dr. Guskey's evidence-based approaches and practical strategies to inform and engage parents have been important factors in our successful transformation. Dr. Guskey shows how parents can, and should, be key supporters of improved grading and reporting systems."

Dr. Jack P. Silva, Superintendent of Schools
Bethlehem Area School District

"Dr. Guskey masterfully navigates the complex terrain of grading practices and demonstrates a keen understanding of the concerns held by parents and families. The notion of questioning the security derived from familiarity with known evaluation experiences is both thought-provoking and timely. This book is a must-read for educators and leaders striving for meaningful grading reforms."

Jessica Robyn Schultz Osborne, Academic and Curriculum Director
San Roberto International School, Monterrey, Mexico

"Engaging Parents and Families in Grading Reforms guides educators on becoming true partners with parents and families in education and describes how educators can best support parents’ understanding of purposeful grading. Thomas Guskey is one of education’s best when it comes to sharing effective grading practices and strategies that support students and their learning."

Jensen Ball, Consultant & Manager
Hawaii State Department of Education

"This book offers education leaders with a how-to for creating a grading system that provides teachers, parents, students and others with a meaningful and informative measuring stick on student performance. Education leaders will appreciate the practical strategies Dr. Guskey outlines to engage parents in the process of reforming grading systems. Ultimately, all constituents will value the more accurate communication they receive on what each student knows and is able to do."

Linda Radtke, Executive Director
High Schools That Work - Southwest Ohio

"Grading practices have immense influence on the way classrooms function and should be at the top of our list of school improvement efforts. Too often, however, we don’t address grading because we know the anger and defensiveness that changes in grading typically prompt from parents and families. In this book, Dr. Guskey provides a handbook for successfully addressing parents' concerns and opposition. It is a significant piece of the puzzle that we have been missing as we work to make our grading systems effective for student learning."

Andrew Maxey, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Initiatives
Tuscaloosa City Schools

"When it comes to educational change, we have tended to focus on teachers and students. While this makes sense, it has left parents and families on the outside looking in. They want to understand the changes we’re making, but haven’t been included in the conversation. Parents need a compass, direction, and understanding as to what we're up to. They don't need an atlas to figure out what we're doing – they need only a map. With this book, Dr. Guskey has supplied precisely that."

Myron Dueck, Vice-Principal for Communicating Student Learning
Okanagan Skaha School District No. 67

"Including parents and families in the conversations about grading reform is an oft-overlooked, yet critical part of the modernizing grading practices. This book masterfully addresses the necessary topics that parents and families need to know in order to understand what is changing and, more importantly, why it has to change. From understanding the change process itself to clarifying the purpose of grading to keeping the reporting process simple, this book will carefully guide everyone to understanding why the sun has set on traditional grading. It’s clear, concise, practical, and packed full of sage advice on how grading reform leaders can bring parents and families inside the reform process. This is an essential book for anyone serious about grading reform."

Tom Schimmer
Schimmer Education Consulting

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ISBN: 9781071921289