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Converting Student Achievements to Letter Grades: Formative Assessment and the BC Performance Standards in Practice

Researchers touting the benefits of formative assessment and criterion-referenced assessment rubrics agree that there is no simple, single method for converting student achievements to letter grades. Rubric conversion methods vary considerably in purpose and design and present a challenge for teachers when reporting student progress via formal report cards. In British Columbia, the Ministry of Education’s policy on reporting students’ progress and the BC Performance Standards’ (BCPS) suggested CRA rubrics and language provide direction but also create additional complexity for teachers’ practices when needing to convert student achievement to letter grades. The central question in this research is “How do middle school teachers in School District 43 use the BCPS suggested CRA rubric language and matrix while needing to meet Ministry guidelines for student progress reporting?” The study also aims to discover how middle school teachers use rubrics toward formative and summative assessment for, as and of student learning while promoting a focus on learning rather than letter grades.
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