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    reading grades
    By Susan

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    I teach first grade. Although I don't like giving grades our district requires number grades. After trying many methods the teachers at my school have come up with a system that communicates to parents how well their child is reading. We must give a language arts grade composed of spelling, language and composition and reading. They are weighted 10, 30, and 60 % respectively. The apelling and language/composition portions are basically papers that are graded. The reading portion is based on how the child is reading related to where the average first grader should be reading at that time of the year. We figured out where the students needed to be at the end of the year and worked our way backward to the beginning of the year giving us benchmark levels for each week. These benchmark levels are the standard against which grades are assigned. Those reading at the benchmark level earn an 85, those above earn a 95, those one level below earn a 75, and those more that one level below earn a 65. While our parents don't like the assigning of grades (at least the vocal ones), this system does let them know whether their child is reading on, above, or below grade level. We use teacher conferences and report card comments to discuss progress in other ways. I'm not convinced this is the best way because I believe reading is developmental, but given my druthers I wouldn't give grades in first grade!

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