Approaches to Grading in the OpenSciEd Classroom

The OpenSciEd approach depends on students being willing to share ideas that they are uncertain of as they figure things out and build their scientific ideas over time. The OpenSciEd materials have a comprehensive assessment system that is aligned with the model of instruction, which supports students in sensemaking and developing their ideas over time. While the materials have embedded assessments, it is up to each teacher to determine how to map the assessment moments to their classroom grades. Grading practices are very localized and informed by school and district policies and a teacher’s own priorities and policies. For this reason, the OpenSciEd materials do not define how a teacher might assign grades with our materials. On this page and in the associated resources, we provide a variety of approaches that educators have taken with grading that aligns with the general approach of the materials. We hope that this may provide some guidance for teachers as they begin to use our materials or deepen their instructional practice. 

Planning your Grading

Each OpenSciEd unit has a comprehensive assessment system with five types of assessments built into the unit. The Unit Overview for each unit calls out where in the unit these types of assessments can be found and how they are helpful in determining student understanding. In addition to the assessments that are called out in the Assessment Overview table, there is a table that describes the opportunities in each lesson for formatively assessing the growth of the three dimensions. As a first step in planning for grading with the OpenSciEd materials, we recommend teachers review those opportunities and determine how they can fit into their existing grading structure. We are currently piloting a planning tool for each unit that helps teachers identify which of the assessment opportunities they will grade, which grade category it will fit in and how many points they will assign it. Below is an example of the draft tool for Unit 6.1 and a sample version filled out based on how a teacher plans on assessing and grading in the unit.

We have collaborated with teachers who have been successfully implementing our materials to learn from how they fit our materials and assessment into their schools’ grading expectations and system. In the following videos they will share how they are grading in a way that supports student sensemaking.