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Topic Based Grade Book In LA



Our assistant principal, who is over Language Arts at our school, is making us do a topic based grade book based on the new standards. Sounds good? Well, each 9 weeks we choose 13 elements to cover and we must take three grades on each element. If we decide an element needs five grades, then all the elements must have 5 grades. What is so frustrating is that I feel like I am teaching the grade book and not the standards.

For instance, this nine weeks one element I am supposed to teach sound devices, however, I am not supposed to use poetry to do this. Yes, I can teach it without using poetry, but it would be so much easier for the students to understand the elements throught poetry. Furthermore, I have students (8th grade) who are reading on a 2nd and 3rd grade level. I am more interested in using gudied reading to improve these students' reading comprehension, not worry about alliteration etc....These students must meet or exceed standards on our state test in reading to be promoted to the 9th grade. If they can't read a passage, how will they identify and analyze the allteration in the passage.

All the AP will say is that we will do the grade book the way she wants it. But, last year she would say, "you must base your instruction on the assessment of your students."

I don't know if any of this makes sense because I still so confused.


Senior Member

To me this idea is confusing, a lot of work, and not practical. What is her reasoning for having you do this? What does she say to the fact in your opinion the students need to learn to comprehend because they are so low? They will give up on the test if their comprehension doesn't improve?

Is she going to be the one to check up on you and your grade books? Do you all need to agree which elements you need to teach every 9 weeks? What if the students don't master these elements in the time frame.

I'd be frustrated with this.


Senior Member
sounds very challenging, but I

do have a suggestion for you to teach sound devices without poetry - sort of. The novel is "House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros - a collection of vignettes that have many qualities of poetry. I teach 8th grade English. That grading system sounds crazy - 13 elements - I understand that you should decide what your goals and objectives are and plan how to adequately assess progress on those goals and design your instruction to accomplish those objectives, thereby teaching what they need for the assessment, but why do you have to do 5 of each or 3 of each? So what if you touch more on one element than another - realistically, some are more important than others or more complicated than others and would involve more lessons and more assessments. Good luck. Let us know how you make out.


Thanks for the replies and suggestions.

AP says all elements of each standard are equal. They are all just a small part of the big picture. But you know, that certain things take longer to teach than others. She doesn't care about our opinion. I think that is what is so frustrating. If she was in the classroom, maybe, she could see where we are coming from. She thinks that she has to treat us like this to make sure we do our job. Well, I know my job. I had the best reading scores in 8th grade last year. If she is worried someone is not doing her job she needs to go to that person and not torture the rest of us.

As far as the students not mastering elements the first nine weeks, you are supposed to add them back to the 2nd nine weeks.

The grade level teachers come together to decide on the elements, but she adds what she wants and gives us a final copy later. If we express an opinion she has something negative to say. Or she tells us that we need to "go higher on the Bloom's chart".

She does check our gradebooks. We must put grades on the computer which is networked to the office. They print progress reports every week. So, we must export every Friday. If a parent complains about a grade, she just pulls up our gradebook and questions us in front of the parent.

Kim in La

Full Member
Too much in La..

All that AND the new Comprehensive Curriculum too??? WOW!! We are pulling our hair out just trying to keep up with that!!! At least we were told that we wouldn't be held as accountable this year for the testing in the spring. It's been such a crazy year already!