A Simple Guide on How to Grade Elementary Students

Tips for Recording and Reporting Student Progress

Teacher Series: Grading Papers
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In This Guide, You Will Learn

→ How to Grade Students
→ Do's and Don't of Grading
→ Communicating Progress to Parents
→ Using a Rubric
→ Codes for Marking Grades K-2
→ Codes for Marking Grades 3-5

How to Grade Students K-5

The sole purpose of assessment is to help plan instruction around students needs so each student can achieve their academic goals. Once the students have been taught and independent work has been completed, it is only then that a grade should be assigned.

In order to assess student learning and understanding, it is essential that teachers learn how to grade elementary students. Criteria used for grading should be fair, supported by documentation and clearly articulated to students and parents.

The Do's and Don'ts of Grading

Grading is complicated and subjective, there is no right or wrong way to grade your students. Keep in mind that when students receive a good grade it can have a positive effect on their motivation, poor grades have no motivational value at all. Use the following tips when deciding on how you will grade your students:

The Do's

  • Do include only students achievement when grading.
  • Do use an I for incomplete not a 0 (zero) that will hurt their average.
  • Do give students the opportunity to "redo" their mistakes.
  • Do involve students in the grading process.

The Don'ts

  • Don't reduce marks for being late.
  • Don't factor in attendance.
  • Don't include group scores.
  • Don't grade every single assignment you give students.

Communicate Progress to Parents

A contributing factor to student success is parent-teacher communication. To help keep parents informed of their child's' progress use the following means of communication:

  • Weekly or monthly newsletter
  • Parent/Teacher conference
  • Samples of students work
  • Progress reports
  • Teacher website

Use a Rubric

Rubrics are a quick way for teachers to get feedback on how their students are progressing. This tool helps teachers assess students learning after a lesson is taught using a set of criteria that is tied to specific learning objectives. Keep the following tips in mind when creating your rubric for student assessment:

  • Create a rubric before you give students an assignment. You can use a general rubric throughout the year and then tailor it for each specific assignment.
  • Go over the rubric with the students before you give them an assignment. This way they know what is expected of them.
  • Keep your rubric short and to the point.

Codes for Marking Grades K-2

The following are two different ways to grade students in grades k-2. The first uses letters and the second uses numbers to assess students achievement. Either chart will be sufficient, it just depends on your school district and/or your personal preference.

Letter Grades for Student Progress
O = Outstanding
S = Satisfactory
N = Needs Improvement
U = Unsatisfactory
NE = Not Evaluated
Number Grades for Student Achievement
3 = Meets grade level expectations
2 = Developing the skills necessary for this grade level/occasional support needed
1 = Progress is below grade level, frequent support needed
X = Not applicable at this time
Codes for Marking Grades 3-5

The following two charts use a code and grade to represent the performance demonstrated by the student. Either chart will be sufficient, it just depends on your school district and/or your personal preference.

Student Progress Chart One
A (Excellent)= 90-100
B (Good)= 80-89
C (Average)= 70-79
D (Poor)= 60-69
F (Fail)= 59-0
Student Progress Chart Two
A = 93-100
A- = 90-92
B+ = 87-89
B = 83-86
B- = 80-82
C+ = 77-79
C = 73-76
C- = 70-72
D+ = 67-69
D = 64-66
D- = 63-61
F = 60-0
NE = Not Evaluated
I = Incomplete

Source: How to Grade for Learning