What we decided for this outcome was that the level 2 skills were basic definitions. There was no manipulation of formulas/equations/etc. We felt that because of the formative procedures in place a student would have lots of feedback and by the time the end came along, they should be able to answer all of those terms successfully. The level 3 skills require some sort of manipulation or solving. There is more to these skills. Level 4 is still a deeper understanding. You'll also notice that we wrote these in student friendly terminology. When a student reads the rubric they read "I can determine..."
Every "graded" assessment, no matter what type of assessment (quiz/exam/performance task/oral/etc.) will be graded using the specific outcome rubric. This allows for tracking growth of learning. It is a consistent scale. It does not change from assessment to assessment.
We have now created these specific rubrics for all of the Saskatchewan Math 9 - 30 curriculums! We are constantly tweaking them, but there is a starting point! We have also decided as a department and extended division PLC group that we will share these rubrics if others want them. A person might not agree with every one of the rubrics, but they are a starting point to be used.
On a side note, we do assign levels of understanding using half points as well... 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5... but we do NOT define these with skills/processes/etc. We use what we learned from Dr. Marzano in that these are used for students who are completely successful with a lower level and partially successful with a higher level. I believe the half points are very important for a student so that they can see growth in their learning.
It has been two full years of using the 4 point rubric instead of the percentage. Our students do not see a percentage on ANYTHING, even report cards, until the final report (grades 10 - 12 only) and ONLY because the Ministry of Education requires it. It did take some time for students and parents to adjust to this change, but my last set of parent teacher interviews in April were the first time I did not have one parent ask about a percentage! I feel we are making progress. We have been communicating a lot better with parents, through letters, videos and emails as to why we are changing. Once you explain to them that this is a much more accurate representation of what their son/daughter does or does not know they buy in. I will tell them that in the past, if they saw a 75% did they really know what it meant? Did it include behaviours? Did it mean that the student scored 75% on every outcome? Or did it mean that the student had 50% on three outcomes and 100% on three outcomes? Did it mean the student had been successful with all outcomes? Did the student improve their learning through the course? A 75% does not tell you much of anything other than it norm references kids and people have their own opinion as to whether 75% is good or bad. It is often referred to as "average". However, if you see that your son/daughter has level 3 on outcome FM20.9, you can read the rubric to see what they have been successful with and what they still need to work on. Our progress reports (which I will blog about soon), will also show what the student's levels of understanding were over time so that the parent and student can see if learning is occurring. The mark is pretty transparent. Nothing is hidden. Since making this change I am very confident in defending a student's "grade". When a parent comes in and asks what their son/daughter still needs to work on, I can give them an accurate answer!
Parents are also concerned about University entrance. How will this affect their son/daughter getting into University? I tell them two things. First, we will still give a percentage at the end of the course so that they can apply (we have a conversion that is common to our department). Second, I tell them that this is far superior to the past system, as now if a student knows that they want to go into a program that has very competitive entrance requirements, the student knows what they need to learn to have a deep understanding of each outcome and can work towards those higher "grades". In the past it was often a one shot deal. You learned the outcome, wrote the test, and moved on. Now we track growth, encourage growth, provide opportunities to improve, and basically give a checklist of what needs to be done at each level of understanding. Parents accept this when it is explained this way.
This has been a huge philosophical shift for everyone involved and although we are not all at the same place in this shift, we are moving towards a common goal! That is we want all kids to learn! We need to find the best way for this to happen and to me, the 4 point rubric is a definite piece of this journey.