As a school focused on preparing students for life after high school, we provide instruction and feedback toward the attainment of five skills believed to be essential for success in today's economy. By doing so, the grades our students receive have broader application than grades received in more traditional schools that assess content knowledge alone.
In fact, a recent study of college readiness at Meridian showed that nearly 90% of students' college grades could be predicted by the grades they received in high school.
Here are our definition for each of the outcomes we assess:
Knowledge and Thinking: Students will apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate resources to create solutions to complex problems in a variety of disciplines.
Written Communication: Students will effectively communicate knowledge and thinking through writing by organizing and structuring ideas and using discipline appropriate language and conventions.
Oral Communication: Students will communicate knowledge and thinking through effective oral presentations.
Agency: Students will become "agents" of their own learning by showing effort, self-discipline, honor, and integrity.
Collaboration: Students will be productive members of diverse teams through strong interpersonal communication, a commitment to shared success, leadership, and initiative.
Using the Echo course management system and grade book, we are able to assess and track skills right alongside content knowledge when calculating course grades. Doing so allows us to communicate students' strengths and areas of opportunities on their path to success after high school.
By communicating progress like this, teachers and parents are able to have open and honest conversations with students about their personal strengths and weaknesses. For example, the grade of a student who turns in an excellent project two-weeks late is evaluated on more than the content and the lateness of the project. In fact, a close look at the grade book would reveal that this student earned an "A" in Knowledge & Thinking but a "D" in Collaboration and Agency.
The fundamental importance of this change comes when the student, his parents, and the teacher talk about the student's success at school. Their conversations go beyond "Why did you get a "C" on this project?" to "Why aren't you collaborating well and why is your agency grade so poor?" This creates a shift in communication that we feel is essential to help our students succeed.